I don’t mean that in the typical my-spouse-sees-more-of-their-coworkers-than-they-do-the-kids sort of way. I mean that *I* married The Job.
MC has talked before about having grown up in the Fire Department, spending many a Christmas at the station. For the better part of his life, it was all he knew. Shift work was what he knew. Rescheduling holidays was what he knew. Going to visit at lunch, only to be disrupted by the sounding alarm was what he knew.
Me? Thanksgiving ALWAYS happened on the 4th Thursday in November, Valentines Day always landed on February 14th, Mother’s/Father’s Day was always whatever day the Hallmark gods deemed (spade a spade), Christmas was always December 25th, and New Years happened at midnight, not 9pm.
When I married MC, with the vows came the understanding that holidates (cute, huh?) mean jack squat. We’ve celebrated V-Day on February 16th when the 14th is a Thursday and MC had to be at work at oh-dark-thirty (morning person, he is not). We’ve celebrated Christmas at 4am because, again, that time card doesn’t punch itself! It’s not the date that matters, it’s the reason you celebrate. I can celebrate MC as a father on ANY day of the year, with a card handpainted by our Big. I tell him that I love him more than a box of chocolates any chance I get AND we don’t have to have reservations 3 weeks in advance or feebly try to find a babysitter that won’t take half our children’s college fund!
I write this to all of those folks out there who has a spouse/loved one interested in law enforcement/going through the academy or about to start it. When you decide to stand behind your loved one, understand it’s more than just the long (and tiring) hours in the academy. Unfortunately, your LEO will be at the bottom of the totem pole for a while, and that could mean working the least desirable shift. However, I will say one thing about those icky shifts, I know MC got a ton of experience working graves that he wouldn’t have otherwise gotten on day shift. Before kids, when he was learning how to give FSTs, I offered to take one for the team and drink drink drink while he was on his way home so he could “practice”. (What can I say? I’m a giver). See? My job has it’s perks too.
Yes, shift work takes a LOT of getting used to. Yes, that first Thanksgiving dinner that happens at 11am instead of 5pm because your LEO has to be at work at 1pm, feels a little odd. Heck, even when MC has had a chance to switch up his regular hours, it still takes a couple of weeks before my “witching hour” (read: right before dinner when the kids are driving me batty and the dogs act like I haven’t fed them in WEEKS) successfully adapts to the new schedule. But really? Isn’t the sacrifice worth it when you are supporting the one you love, at a job they love and are called to do? I’d give up every future birthday/5pm Thanksgiving/Midnight kiss on NYE for it every time.