I was stopped at a red light, on my way to a brunch date. Over the song playing on the radio I began to hear faint sirens; I turned the radio down and I heard the sirens getting louder. Cars behind me began to part ways as I heard bursts of the patrol car’s horn. I moved my car over as well, and my heart started to race as I wondered who could be behind the wheel of that patrol car. As I watched it go past, it seemed as if time was slowing down. Driving that car with the flashing lights, sirens blaring, and sounding the car horn… was my husband.
Time is a surreal thing; it slows down and speeds up without reason. In that moment, everything felt slow and sluggish. In the split-second that he passed me I was able to focus on his clenched jaw, his focused gaze, his tight grip on the steering wheel and his Field Training Officer sitting in the passenger seat. I blinked and the moment was gone. He passed the intersection and his car was out of sight.
My heart ached. I was right there and he didn’t see me, he didn’t know how close we were, and I didn’t know what he was headed toward. I tried to focus on where I was going but my mind was somewhere else now. A million scenarios ran through my mind, from the most mundane to the most terrifying. I let myself cry as I was driving, and I prayed.
I got a call from my mom letting me know that our brunch date would have to wait. SWAT had been called out and we had to get back home. My dad had been watching my sons that day but now had to leave to respond to the call out. My world was spinning now. I turned the car around and headed towards my parents’ home. On my way there, several more patrol cars sped past me. My heart was beating out my chest.
I made it to my parents’ home and as I walked in I saw that my dad was suited up and ready. My boys were looking up at him with so much pride – they think they have the coolest grandpa. I kissed him and said ‘goodbye’. Once again, I was staring at flashing lights driving away, and once again, I was praying that my loved one would be safe. In my heart I knew that he was heading straight for where my husband had responded.
My emotions were all over the place and I felt myself start to lose it. I was a rookie wife; I wasn’t prepared for this. So much worry, so much uncertainty. My mom saw me start to fall apart. She hugged and reassured me like only another police wife could. She showed me how to shut the world out and to remember that no news is good news. It was hours later before we got the text message letting us know that it was all over.
I was only partly relieved… Dad was on his way home but my husband still had to finish his shift. I would have to head home, go through the nighttime routine with our boys and anxiously wait for his return. What I really wanted was to hold him and kiss him, to have him come home with us, to help me tuck our boys into bed. I was already so exhausted, so emotionally drained. I needed him.
When he finally made it home that night, his demeanor was such a contrast to mine. He was thrilled to tell me about his day and all about the exciting call that he got to be a part of. He told me how it was all handled perfectly, he saw SWAT operate up close and he loved it. I smiled and listened intently but inside I wanted to scream, I knew where this was headed. He wanted to try out for SWAT as soon as he was allowed to. I knew it. I saw it coming a mile away.
On the day my husband announced that he wanted to pursue SWAT, I reacted just as I had done on the day he told me he wanted to leave teaching to become a police officer: I told him that I would always support him no matter what, and I meant it. I would put my fears aside to let him pursue his calling. I would be wife to a SWAT officer and all that came with it.
He’s been in SWAT several years now and he still loves it. He looks forward to their training days; he enjoys the camaraderie in his team. I know he is where he belongs and it makes it so much easier to deal with each call out. Mother’s Day plans have been ruined, sleep has been lost, and entire days have been robbed from us. He’s responded to workplace shooting incidents, hostage situations, barricaded subjects, and the worst of all, hunting for the man that shot one of their officers. We live our lives in the days, hopefully months, between these call outs. There’s added uncertainty with being a part of SWAT, and what makes it all worth it is the added pride that comes with it as well.
Georgina is a police wife, and daughter, from Indiana. She and her husband are trying to raise their three young boys while living the third shift life. She has also helped incorporate, and is president of, a non-profit that benefits the local community her father and husband patrol, called Behind the Badge, Inc. Georgina writes about her personal experiences, such her adventures as a boy mom or as a police wife. You can follow Georgina on Twitter and Instagram @ginabigb