Monday, February 13, 2012

Personally: Words

Hi. Has it really been almost 2 months since I last posted? Well, golly gee time sure does fly.

To sum up, I haven't been much of a happy camper lately. I am burned out. Big time. We see HF so little these days, that I jokingly mentioned to a friend that I might as well move somewhere I like, like where there's an ocean, because we would see HF about the same amount of time. Except, I wasn't really joking all that much. Inside, I kind of meant it. Sure, I would miss the shape of his body underneath the comforter as I sneak in and out of our bedroom during the day while he's sleeping, but I am pretty lonely these days. I busy myself with the kids' comings and goings, projects, events, and play dates. I joined a book club, I volunteer my time, I call friends and family members. During quiet evenings when the kids are in bed and HF has rushed out the door, I might prepare myself a beautiful gourmet snack and a hot cup of tea and watch a much anticipated non-cartoon, grownup movie, or delve deeper into a novel on my kindle. I might get caught up on housework, or work on a pinterest (omg pinterest are you on it?!) project I've had my eye on. Sound familiar? Anyone?

On the outside, it might look like I am doing it all. That I'm a Super mom, or at the very least, a contented mom and wife. People say, "Oh I don't know how you do it! I would die if I didn't live near my family so they could help out!", and other similar sentiments. I smile and don't say much, but inside, I am dying. I hate going to events without HF. And to be honest, it's mostly because our kids are a handful when it's just me. Also, whether the kids are with me, or I've gotten a babysitter, I'm a bit shy. I hate to admit it, but HF is sort of a social crutch! It also bothers me that babysitting is so hard to come by. I could really use a break every now and then. And while I'm mentioning what is bothering me, do my friends understand that without a decent amount of notice, babysitting is nearly impossible, especially when you don't live near family? And no, I can't leave them home alone while they are sleeping! I repeat, HF's schedule is from 7pm to 7am.

Another thing you may or may not know about me? I am low maintenance. And HF knows it. He is reminded on a regular basis when his friends' or family members' wives do insane things and call him to tell him about it. I don't ask for much. I 'm not needy, I don't play games, and I certainly don't expect all that much. I am also honest. I tell him exactly what I want. One of those things I tell him I want is words. If you are familiar with the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, my love language is primarily Words of Affirmation. For example, our communication has been really off for a couple of months. I am a worrier and a talker and a planner. HF is the strong silent type. If he says one word, "sorry", when necessary, I am putty in his hands. It is far reaching. It covers just about everything without there being a need for much discussion. When he tells me nice things, compliments me, etc. I feel like I'm walking on clouds. Words go a long way and keep me happy. So being married to the strong silent type doesn't afford me a lot of words as you may well imagine.

For many years, I have told HF that a perfect birthday present from him would be a letter. I would take a letter over new furniture or whatever my secret indulgence would be (Don't take my word on that). He never says anything. He never gives me words. And then my friends, on my 32nd birthday that just occured two weeks ago, he presented me with words. He woke me up early on my birthday, plopped down a small stack of starch white paper, leaned over, kissed me, and said, "Happy Birthday". I grabbed it up, sleepy eyes and all, and saw on the cover, "Words". That's all it said. And inside, were the most beautiful, heartfelt spoken words from the most strong and silent man I've ever known. And I'm telling you, those words have given me hope, and they have given me peace. And whatever our issues and struggles may be, we will find a way. That's what words give me. A way.

And since y'all don't know me from Adam, I can rest assure that my sharing a sampling of HF's work won't embarrass either one of us (hopefully). Some of his poems are police related, some of them are personal, some are about me. Here's a poem that sums up this entire post, if you've borne with me this long.

I Need Words (by HF)

I need words she says
Words to tell me what you think of me
But what she's really saying to me is
I want you to tell me how much I am worth to you
I need words she says
Words to tell me what you like about me
But what she's really saying to me is
I want you to tell me I am safe here with you forever
I need words she says
Words to tell me what you think and feel
But what she's really saying to me is
I want you to tell me I am safe in your mind with you forever
I need words she says
I need words
I feel like the next thing that comes out of my mouth had better be amazing
I fumble and say something about her eyes or her nose or her uncanny ability to read people
She smiles tolerantly hoping
I continue citing her remarkable organizational skills. Yeah I went there.
But I have not heard her.
I should have said
You are safe with me in my mind and in my heart forever. You are my other half and I could only love
You as deep as the universe and as wide as eternity.
You are my hope and I love you.
But most of all
I still see the girl I married ten years ago every time I look at you regardless of what is happening around us
And I am always grateful for you


Anonymous said...

Definitely could have gone without crying today, but so happy you got your words and they were touching and beautiful at that...

Dori said...

There have been days...weeks...when I've been so stretched, that I think I finally may be at a breaking point and then he writes something on his own blog about how grateful he is to come home to his family, to his wife and how much he loves her. And I feel renewed. Guess I'm a Word person as well.

It was the 7-7 shift that almost did us in. And all of the extra things he did--court, teaching, training--during his days "off". I remember the thoughts that it would be easier if I was truly on my own--without the expectation of help/support from him. It was, without a doubt, the darkest point of our marriage. Somehow, we were able to set aside the hurt and talk...and remember why we were together in the first place. And we promised (again) to stick by each other--no matter what.

You two are strong. He hears you. You'll get through this season as well!

RoryBore said...

and now I am all weepy. so lovely and loving that he met your need! it's so hard when they are like ships in the night to us. us listening patiently to "call" stories while keeping one eye on the stove, and the other on 3 kids.

it's hard feeling like a single parent most of the time, and I totally understand about attending functions alone; or skipping because a sitter for 3 is hard to come by. But we manage, don't we? but moments like this sure make it easier to manage.

Some recently recommended a movie called "Courageous" to me - I haven't seen it yet, but it is about a group of police officers and how they struggle between the world they work in, and the one that must ultimately live and love in.

Meadowlark said...
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SCW Stella said...

We have all been there...even without kids, the overnight shift was so hard for us...I work nights and would come in about 9ish PM and he would just be leaving for his shift. We were the proverbial two ships that pass in the night...the good news is that it gets better; it always does. I wish you LOVE this Valentine's Day, and future moments stacked with more words you love...XO SCW Stella

Elle said...

You brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Mommy to Monkeys said...

Oh for goodness sake...I've got tears running down my face! I'm glad you were able to get your words.
I know how you feel and my heart goes out to you. Just know you are not alone and if you ever need a shoulder we all are here for you!

Anonymous said...

Brought tears to my eyes. Beautifully written. THANKS FOR SHARING

Simply Complicated said...

Wow I'm all weepy now! You are a beautiful writer and so is your husband. Sometimes the depth of struggle brings out the depth of love. We were there last year, but January brought us the relief of a shift change so we've finally gotten a break from overnights. They are taxing on a marriage. Hang in there dear, my thoughts are with you as you go through this valley.

Melodee, said...

Wow. I could have been reading my own words from 20+ years ago. Hang in there. I, too, have read Love Languages and I, too, am an affirmation person. Problem is, our LEO's strengths are in a different sort of words that they give their "customers." :o) It takes a long time for them to grow into their cop skin and settle down from the excitement of being able to live their dream. I know . . . while they're doing that, you're "stuck" at home with little kids, basically being a single married person. I've been there. I can tell you it gets better. It sounds, from his words, that you have someone who puts you first, even though sometimes it may not seem like it since the community seems to get most of his time. Mine's been in for 25+ years and he works 6pm-6am. I didn't even know what REAL weekends were until he was in our narc task force . . . and then he ended up working most of those. He prefers nights and I'm used to it, but then it's just us at home now. If you can, and if his agency allows it, get a babysitter in advance and try to do some ridealongs with him. It'll give you a good sense of how he spends his nights. Our closest family was 4 hours away and when we moved to our little town, we didn't know a soul. 25 years later and it's our home. Anyway, I'm rambling. Hang in there. It gets better. Just keep each other number one in your lives.

Jenn said...


Anonymous said...

He is amazing and so are you! 5pm-3am did us in. Hang in there. sounds like you are both worth the fight!

Anonymous said...

I could have written this myself today. I'm a fairly new cop wife...and, a lot like you, I'm not a very needy woman. We have one child, live a ways out of town, so it feels pretty isolated when my husband is on nights like he is now. Most of the time, I'm okay with it. But, today for some reason I was pretty down. I went searching on google for "how do cop wives survive lonliness,"and yours was the 4th hit. It's helpful to just read someone else's experiences and know you aren't being selfish or childish...and that you aren't alone. Thanks for your post.

Lt said...

You know, I can admit to getting a little teary eyed. Nice job, HF.

mrs. fuzz said...

I am teary eyed reading everyone's comments! So silly how sometimes I feel that no one can relate, but how wrong I am because all of you can. Thanks for the kind words, the advice, and the "me too's"!

Dori-that is exactly us right now. 7-7 and he does all the extras when he's not working or sleeping. . . thank you for your wisdom.

Anonymous said...

Mine also works 6p-6a and lets not forget about the hour pre-shift he spends "prepping." He comes in @ 6:30a, I leave for work @ 6:40 while he takes our rambuncious 2yr old to school. I get home @ 4:30 and he's out the door by 5...I've come to realize that I need function as a single parent. I plan things and if he can make it great. If not, well that's life. I'm not going to sit around because of him. I'm lucky that I do have my family around. I don't know how I would survive without them. I totally agree that sometimes I wish I was alone, it's easier to deal with EVERYTHING if you don't have the expectation that someone else will help you-and let you down...

Thanks for YOUR's always good to know you aren't alone...even when you are-physically alone.

BunnyO said...

I'm in the 7-7 boat, too. It has been hell but we are definitely working hard to get through it! You are never alone, no matter how much you feel like you are! Keep reading those beautiful words he wrote you. Definitely something to hold close on those long nights he is gone.

John Rambo's Wife said...

Thank you for this.

Thank you for sharing your heart.

Thank you for saying the words I so often can't say.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the hopefulness you posted here. My husband just got hired as a cop...and although we've lived a shift work life for the past three years together, I know that things are about to change forever, and it scares me. When I went looking for encouragement, I found poems about the sacrifice. Your words are a testament to an amazing man, and you, who was smart enough to ask for what you wanted most.

Dear Amy said...
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Dear Amy said...

Wow! This has managed to make every single one of us cry. It's absolutely beautiful, and I thank you for sharing something so personal with us.

Meadowlark said...

Amy, I am only posting here because your site doesn't allow my comments to go through. Thought you should know that maybe people are *trying* to comment, but can't.

Hang in there...

proudwife36 said...

I am a new reader of this blog and after reading this post I finally feel like I've found a group that gets it! The poem is incredible- I have absolutely felt the same way as my husband is an officer on the night shift as well. Thanks for posting that :)

Raising Knights said...

Words of affirmation ties with acts of service for me. How I would love for my dh to tell me how much he values me while he's doing the dishes. ;)

But he's doing a 7pm-3am shift, Army reserves, and working his fledgling business right now. So, if I want to see him more, I'll have to watch him sleep. When he is available, our five sons are eager for his attention too. My man is just plain worn out.

Anonymous said...

Thank you....for writing my life, my thoughts, my heart. It's so hard right now, I'm so tired. But simply words, if I just as for those...maybe that he will understand.

the wifey said...

We are in month 7 of an 8 month stretch of 10pm-6am. Our ten year anniversary is next month and he will be working on it. Oh, and may I add that he's been a LEO for all of those ten years. I felt like your post could have been from me. Beautiful, heartbreaking, story of our life, and you captured it excellently. I'm still crying! Thank you for keeping on and inspiring me, reminding me that I'm not alone!

Kimberly said...

Oh man! I just stumbled upon your blog today. Can I say LOVE at first sight?! Maybe divine intervention. My husband is LEO as well, and it is so beautiful to know there are some ppl that 'get' this life style. Sometimes it's just so hard. And comments from others that really I should be thankful for like Idon't know how you do it all, you are amazing, he's never with you, you accomplish so much make me scream inside! I smile with a quiet thank you, we're blessed. And inside all my arsenol is letting loose! I want to hold my husband's hand to, I want to drive together in the same vehicle, I want to have a quiet uninterrupted night with just my hubs, I don't always want to cover for him and yet, I want him to be truely happy. I want him to serve and give. I love to see him in uniform, and I know all he gives behind the scenes. He is my hero. On the outside looking in it looks like we have it all together. From the inside looking out, it is awesome prayer and divine intervention keeping one step ahead and fighting to keep it all together. My husband and I were talking, and we were talking about all the time he spends away, the time he is called out, how inverted he becomes sometimes. My ah, ha was this, I can forever fight against the things I don't love about this lifestyle, or I can embrace it, work through it and choose to see the good because I love him. I have forever asked for only one thing, a love letter. One because, I want to see his it in his handwriting. I want something to hold on to. It is also our ten year anniversary this year. It has been an awesome journey, challenging demanding, rewarding and wonderful. The words your hubs wrote are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your blog!! I needed it right now!

Teryn said...

this post definitely resonated with me...thank you for being willing to share your heart with others. You are an encouragement!

JB C said...

I'm also so freakin tired of night shift. He's been on nights all four years since FTO, and I'm beginning to think I would be happier and more fulfilled in a different relationship. My love language is touch, and damn it, if I could just get an arm around me, a cuddle once in awhile, or some sex that isn't planned out two weeks in advance, I'd be happy. We're in counseling, but I'm not happy coming second to his job. I work shift work as well as a Fire captain, so those 48 hours I have off alone really drag.
I'll figure it out, go or stay, but it's so refreshing to hear that I'm not the only one struggling.