Alright friends, we should talk. This will not be another, how to survive the holidays alone blog. Or maybe it will. But bear with me.
It’s Mother’s Day. A day for breakfast in bed. A day for flowers. A day for waking up to a clean house, bathed kids and folded laundry. Oh, blessed Mother’s Day.
For those of us who walk this line with our spouse, Mother’s Day may mean waking up to the thud of boots by the front door as they arrived home this morning; to be greeted with flowers and a tired look on their face. As they scurry off to bed for the day (or night), however you look at it, you are back on duty yourself and although you wish you could’ve slept in or taken a spa day, he needs sleep. You third shift families know how crucial guarding that time is, so for now, you just count your blessings and are thankful once again, for the sound of him getting ready for bed.
Or you may have gotten that brush of a kiss as they tried to not to wake you before they crept out quietly for their shift before the sun came up. You awoke to find a card by the coffee pot and flowers on the counter. Today you’ll spend the day with your parents or in-laws, but family gatherings solo are nothing new to the LEOW.
Or like me, they are on the glorious mid-shift and sleep when you do, wake when you do and have the mornings home with your toddling little ones. I know it will change as the kids get older but for now, I love mids!
So this morning as my dear husband rose when the first little set of feet hit the floor, I let him. I was taking advantage of this chance to sleep a little longer. I laid in bed thinking about Mother’s Day. I thought about getting all three little ones out the door for church, taking a friend to lunch after and how I needed to clean my house sometime this year. My to-do list started before I even turned the covers.
I knew my guy worked today and well, I wasn’t that upset. Holidays are relative to our family. Y’all know the drill. More often than not, holidays are celebrated on a rotation day off. Since he was here in the morning we enjoyed a little time together but before I knew it, it was time to get everyone dressed and out the door.
Now, wrangling our little ones should truly be an Olympic sport. They are fast, tenacious and find great enjoyment in clowning around. As I attempted to button up a shirt on our three year old, after barely getting the 18 month olds pants on, I was getting annoyed. My hubby rushes over to help and before I know it, I am taking my frustration out on him. Before I even know what I’m saying, I spill out, “Why bother helping now?!” My heart sunk before I finished the sentence. I turned to see the look on his face as he asks me to clarify what I just said. “I mean, I do this every week by myself so, I don’t need your help.” I watched as he walked away, upset and tore down by my words. I felt awful. What I fail to remember when I’m only thinking of myself is the incredible sacrifice that he too is making.
See, this Mother’s Day, he got up and made our littles breakfast, even after getting called a pig this week by a boy almost the same age as our oldest. He wrote a card out to me, his lucky wife, full of kind words, after staying up late many nights to finish reports on robberies, fights and drunk drivers. He thought of me, his tired wife, as he let me sleep in this morning, despite his 22 hour day the day before. I could rave about his accomplishments in his law enforcement career so far, his awards or accommodations and all of those are certainly worthy to be mentioned. However, what strikes me and humbles me, is his seemingly supernatural ability to wake up and not hate the world after some of the experiences he has.
I realized that as these mean words poured out of my mouth this morning that I was not being the kind of wife that I needed to be. I offered my apologies and he offered his explanations. “You know, sometimes this is the only two hours I have of peace all week,” he offered. “I come when I can but now and then I just need this time alone.”
My mind wandered back to the memorial service for fallen officers we attended this week and an all too familiar poem. As an Officer faces God for ‘The Final Inspection’ he has a conversation with him…
“Step forward now, policeman. How shall I deal with you? Have you always turned the other cheek? To My church have you been true?”
The Policeman squared his shoulders and said, “No, Lord, I guess I aint, because those of us who carry badges, can’t always be a saint.
I’ve had to work most Sundays, and at times my talk was rough, and sometimes I’ve been violent, because the streets are awfully tough.
But I never took a penny, that wasn’t mine to keep…Though I worked a lot of overtime, when the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help, Though at times I shook with fear. And sometimes, God forgive me, I’ve wept unmanly tears…”
I found in this moment that what my husband needed most from me was understanding. Instead of seeing all that I give up or all that I do alone, I need to remember all that he gives of himself. Instead of holding the things he isn’t there for over his head or getting resentful at this life, I remind myself of the huge calling that God has on our family. Sure he works most Sundays and is often absent from birthdays and holidays. I may not get to sit around this Mother’s Day but I do get to raise three beautiful, strong children that respect and admire all of our public servants, especially their daddy. So this Mother’s Day and the many more to come, I will remember what a gift my husband is for helping support me as a Mother.