I am celebrating my 20th anniversary today! I met my husband as he was getting ready to graduate from the police academy at the beginning of 1993. We married in 1996. We have 2 wonderful girls who are now adults. As we celebrate 20 years, I wanted to take some time to reflect on our marriage and how far we have come. It hasn't always been easy as we all know marriage is not a bowl of roses. But who wants a bowl of roses anyway? LOL! That would take away all the adventure that life throws at you. I have been asked what makes our marriage work. I don't have that one line answer to give someone inspiration. We are all different human beings with different wiring.
I'm not going to lie, being married to a cop is hard. At first, I wanted to blame him for never being home or blame the ongoing shift change, or the fact that I couldn't have a life or commit to any engagements because not only does his shift change but his off days have always been rotating. Plus I had to share the limited time off so he could help friends and family. I felt like a robot with a schedule for the night he was actually off. And let's be honest, when we are young- we are full of energy, selfish and think we know it all! Sacrifice was hard.
I could never commit to anything on a weekly basis. With 2 growing girls and their commitments plus my husbands crazy schedule, I worked and it was hard stuff. I felt alone and wondered if there would be anyone out there that would take me as a friend on my schedule only...lol! It was easier to have friends 20 years ago. Everyone wasn't so busy and it was still a time that relationships were important and I could call a friend to come over at a drop of a hat. We didn't have cell phones yet..lol! We didn't text and we were saving money for our first computer with that annoying start beep. But as years went by, people got busier and busier. We live, we grow, we learn. Have we always done it right? No! Have we had a perfect marriage? No! Have we been the best parents ever? No! Are there things we wish we can change about one another? Yes! But are we together after 20 years still loving each other? Yes!
What has made our marriage work? Sacrifice, love, commitment, unity, faith, and I can go on with those sentimental adjectives. My husband and I have always put him and I before our kids. Most parents today do not. Their kids are the center of their world. But my husband and I have "valued" time. We looked forward to off days. They were and are rare. If he wasn't picking up an extra shift while we were trying to buy our first house or sleeping because you don't really get off days on 3rd shift, we had limited days that could just be us. The little time we had together was quality time that was not taken for granted. I promise you, we love our girls as much as you love your kids but our girls knew that their parents came before them when we had the time. I always thought that without "Us" there wouldn't be "them" so "Us" will always come before "them." While our girls were growing this was all they knew. They have not lived with parents that worked 8-5 and could cuddle on the couch in the evening. I never promoted all the sports and extra circular. They could and did play a few to try them out but they never continued and honestly, I was happy...lol! I am not a fan of living just to run my kids to games and practices every single day of the week. We have better "life" opportunities we can enjoy rather than living like that. I am more of a free spirit and I still do not work off of a calendar. My husband is on task and keeps a calendar and he would prefer a schedule. I like the spur of the moment "let's go" kind of days. Even though our schedules were crazy and it seemed like the girls never saw us "together" much, they always felt the unity between us. When they asked me a question or wanted to do something, I would always tell them that I would talk to their dad first. I rarely talked to their dad first... lol! But they thought I did and that's what mattered. They never played us because they thought we were unified through his crazy schedule. Has my husband missed holidays or special days? Yes! As a young cop you don't get to have first pick. But I'm not sure that the girls even remember what he missed. My husband was good at taking off or switching a shift when it wasn't a busy holiday like Christmas. He was there for all the school plays and recitals. He was there for school meetings, He was there every year loading camping gear for their class trips, He was there when it was time to drive, He was there teaching them to clean their cars and change their oil. He was there taking his police dog to school to offer a demonstration, he was there taking them to school waiting to go to sleep after 3rd shift. So, if he missed a holiday, I don't think we remember because he has been there for all the stuff in between even if he never got to sleep yet. I decided to take teams to Mexico on mission trips for a span of 9 years. My husband would never go, but he was there at the fundraising events and supported me. We have never told each other "no" to any of our goals and dreams. We have always supported and encouraged each other to do whatever adventures we want to get into- within reason of course! We never blamed each other for our lives chosen but quietly appreciated what each other did rather than persecuting each other for what we couldn't do. We made sure a kiss and an I love you was said at each departure.
Now that we are all older....lol....we deal with rotating shifts, a police dog, 2 house dogs, a daughter in college and a daughter headed to her senior year in high school and I started my own business. You might think it is much easier now and I could have my own life and schedule. Think again... lol! My 18 yr old daughter has not grasped the driving concept. We are working on it but she has school and a job and I am her taxi. I am hopeful by the end of the summer this will be conquered!
I have learned that it is Okay that I can't join this group, have nights to go out with friends, or even commit to an every Saturday or Sunday Church service. I have learned to learn on my own. I have learned to use my gifts and talents to help others. I have learned to be satisfied right where I am planted until the chapter needs to close. I have learned that when my chapter closes that I need to be patient until my husband can join me in my next chapter. I have learned that when he needs a break that he deserves that break!! I get bored easily. When I get bored, I am onto the next thing. My husband has always supported me and been there through all my "things."
He has been amazing over the years. I don't know how he can go to work and get called every name in the book and come home and shut it off. I couldn't do it. I couldn't do his sleep schedule. I don't think me or our girls can ever recall a time that we have ever been affected by the negative that he endures daily. He shuts it off at the door. What I admire is that his heart is always working for the good of others. Maybe that's why it is easier for him-The hope that the good will always trump all the bad in this world. I am thankful he is still coming home.
After 20 years, we are still loving and supporting each other through all of our chapters. We are getting ready to close a huge chapter and start a new one next year. We are prepping to sell our house that we had built 12 years ago. Remember when I said that I get bored easily? I'm a free spirit? I like to use my gifts and talents? Well... I'm tired of living in the city. I grew up in the country and the saying is true... You can't take the country out of the girl. I feel so closed in living here. I would love some land and a fixer upper!! My husband and I work so well together and this would be so much fun for us! I think he might become more of a free spirit...lol!
So..... here is to another 20 years of chapters opening and closing! I am so excited to grow old with my policeman. I still can't imagine my life without him. My life is better because of him. Our lives are different but I like being different. My heart is full.
Happy Anniversary to a policeman that I am honored to call my husband.
(he calls me Katherine)