When we were all younger and less wise, police officers were those people to be avoided. They gave you tickets for speeding and took you "downtown" when you got caught rolling people's homes in the middle of the night. (Not that I did that, but my favorite "associates" might have...) They were intimidating and you avoided them like the plague. Some people still think of them this way: Scary, mean, not to be trusted.
I wonder what it is like to be married to someone who works 9-5 Monday through Friday...what it's like to have every weekend free...how it would be to eat dinner as a family each night. I wonder if life would be different if we had to share a bathroom each morning before beginning our days...or got into bed together to wind down and talk about how the day had gone.
There are many nights he is late getting in, or at least later than I expect. He usually won't leave until all his shift is in and accounted for, so there's never a "usual" time. It might be he needs to talk to the shift coming on, or maybe there's paperwork. Whatever it may be, there is usually little time to call me. Not because he doesn't care, but because his responsibility lies elsewhere at that moment.
Whenever this happens, which can be often, I find myself going through my usual thought process: If he's in trouble, which grandparents do I call if I have to go to the hospital? What if they're not home? How fast can I get there? Can the kids stay in the waiting room? What if I have to decide if they should go in? What if he doesn't come home? Can I raise these kids alone? Surely God wouldn't ever do this, right? This is my depressing, yet necessary, train of thought.
He misses soccer games and school programs. He has to go out at odd hours sometimes and I'm not sure when he'll be home. I do a lot of our parenting alone when he is at work. It's difficult at best to swing between being a one-parent home and a two-parent home. Add in three kids, and I am waaayyy out-numbered.
You get used to doing it by yourself and all of a sudden there's another parent in the mix. Shifting between the two is challenging. It's harder still to get back into the groove of being a couple when you literally haven't seen each other in five days other than a quick good-bye in the hallway.
Being married to him means I'm not as innocent and trusting as I used to be. I've always been a chicken, but now I'm a paranoid chicken. Everyone is a potential carjacker/murderer/rapist. When the house creaks, it's obviously Jack the Ripper coming through the door. It couldn't be, oh, the house just creaking or anything, ya know, logical.
In short, the person I am has been directly shaped by the person he is and the job he lives. It colors our family's lives and our friendships. It has woven itself into everything about us. It's a different life, but it's mine.