Yesterday I was taken aback by a beautiful gal who asked me to sign her book. She had her soon-to-be officer with her, and her 7-year-old son. I asked her a couple of questions and soon she was dabbing the edges of her eyes, careful not to mess up her mascara.
“I was doing fine until I heard what the wives said in the panel,” she confessed. “I’m just so overwhelmed…”
Her husband had a look. His deep eyes showed several guarded emotions. I imagined his thoughts. “I just went through six months of hell. I’m graduating tomorrow, and now she’s crying… what is the deal here? What’d you say to her?”
My hug was better than my stupid words. Fact is, the look in his eyes drew me a blank in the what to say category. I mumbled some worthless chatter, and hugged her again.
Since then, this little family has come back to my thoughts again and again. What do you say to someone who is just starting this journey we’ve been skipping and trudging through? We have to be realistic. She’s got to know what she’s getting into. But we also have to move forward. We know it’s tough – we just don’t know how tough. And unknowns are shadows in the distance.
How will this change my life? Change my man? Change me?
Our lives as peacekeeper families are a balance between white picket fences and cold, steel bars. Somewhere between happily ever after and death row. When a person steps up and pledges to give themselves to public service, he/she makes a decision – a promise – that drastically affects the lives of his/her family. This is true for all relationships, but not to the degree of the effects for warrior families. This is one reason why the CHP holds a four-hour training for it’s new officer families.
But it isn’t all bad, it isn’t all sacrifice, it isn’t all serious drudgery. Otherwise no one would take it on.
We do what we do because we are motivated by fierce love.
We do what we do because we dare to live with hope.
We do what we do because we have courage to live a life with risks.
Some days are easy, uneventful.
Some days pass by, slowed by loneliness.
Some days are filled with laughter, intimacy – the goodness that closeness brings.
Some days are filled with moodiness.
Some days are filled with confusion and conflict.
Some days are just, well, awesome.
It’s all how you choose to look at it.
The passing of days – ups and downs, circles and lines, outgrown shoes and fond memories, losses and benefits – develop into years of seasons between white paint and prison cells.
It is our adventure to live.
Victoria Newman - "A CHiP on My Shoulder" October 26th, 2012
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