Broke-Ass Tag: family drama


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Every 53 hours, says the statistic. Every 53 hours a life is cut short, a family is torn apart and brothers and sisters behind the badge mourn one of their own. Every 53 hours an officer is killed in the line of duty.

I understood this statistic going in. I accepted the responsibility to wait calmly and patiently when incidents kept him late, to graciously understand weekends being stolen, and to give twice the hugs and “I love yous” on holidays while smiling and explaining, “He’s so sorry he couldn’t be here.” I was ready to be a law enforcement wife.

It’s not that that’s changed; I am still ready to be a law enforcement wife. What I am not ready to be is a law enforcement widow. It sounds trite. No one is ready to lose their partner. It’s just that 53 hours has gotten awfully short in the last few weeks. Officers are being gunned down in the streets and in their homes. They’re being ambushed, not as a part of a pursuit or investigation, but simply by virtue of the uniform they wear. Now that I am mere days away from being married, these stories shift the fear from bad weather and melted buttercream to the paralyzing fear of losing the love of my life.

I have to say, the title Law Enforcement Wife gives me a certain amount of pride. I am proud of my soon-to-be husband because I know he’s a good cop. He is smart and aware. He is compassionate and deliberate in his actions. He is a go-to for assistance, for instruction, for advice and for action and he never forgets the duty he has to every person with whom he comes into contact. He is unendingly considerate to me. A good cop starts his or her texts with “I’m ok … ” before explaining why they’re going to be late. When you love a law enforcement officer, the text or call that says “I’m coming home” is second only to the moment they darken the doorway on the list of things that keep you sane. I’m proud because I know I bear a different role on occasion. When my husband comes home to me and I ask how his day was, I don’t know what horror waits on the other side of that question. I don’t know what he omits for my peace’s sake.

The title makes me proud because it implies something about me, too. There is a patience and understanding that’s a little different from the typical virtues a loving partner provides. When he goes to work, many of the people with whom he comes into contact wish him ill. The fact is, many of the people with whom he comes into contact wish me ill. Most of the time they’re merely blind threats, but the phrase, “When I get out of here, I’m going to kill your whole family,” is a go-to assault on officers.

That’s a stress on his day most professions don’t experience. Part of my job – and do believe it’s a job – is to mitigate that stress. I have to respect the fact that his protective instincts are a little more specific than most. My fierce streak of independence and self-sufficiency has to take a back seat if he throws his arm in front of me and tells me to get back before we round a corner. I can’t call it paranoia when he explains tactical plans to thwart a potential intruder (and has me rehearse them). I know to remain calm, look straight ahead and be prepared to leave an unfinished drink or meal when he spots a former inmate who might cause trouble. I’m not submitting out of weakness or being “less than;” I am respecting his knowledge and training and trusting that he only wants to keep me safe.

During the first week in September, several social media pages encouraged readers to wear blue and post pictures tagged #backtheblue. Hashtag activism isn’t my favorite means of support, but I saw an opportunity to use my position to offer some perspective. That post opened up a conversation that had only been implied between the two of us. I saw both love for me and disappointment in himself as I explained that sometimes I’m just so scared.

Real Bride Shannon Back the Blue

Now the line I walk is a fine one between letting him know I care and adding to his worry with mine. Where once I was happy to have my man in blue make a pit stop after work, there’s now trepidation that the three stripes on his shoulder and badge on his chest leave him a marked target. Statistics show that 2015 is actually on pace to be one of the least deadly years for law enforcement on record, but so much has happened in such a short time. We’re all aware of it, so rather than further grinding the issue into his brain, I try to be a steady source of love and support. There are moments in my day where I am brought to tears by thoughts, images and words. Most days I can dry the tears before he gets home. I always try.

Many would think that there’s a problem sharing emotions in our relationship. Quite the contrary. It’s simply that my burdens will always be his, and likewise, his are mine. Yes, the weight can be heavy, but that’s why there are two of us. Rather than live in fear, we carry on by acting in love and remember that – sometimes – it’s all right to pocket the words related to emotion and settle for a long hug.

  • 5/25

    Real Bride Amy The Mom Factor
    For Mother’s Day, my mom and I went away for the weekend.  We had nice time, and chatted here and there about the wedding. While we don’t argue, I will say we are totally not on the same page. We aren’t super close, my mother and I. We aren’t estranged, but we also aren’t Rori and Loreli either! The wedding is just an example of how my mother just doesn’t get me. We have different priorities and come from very different generations. A wedding in the late ’70s and one in 2016 are just a little different.
    It’s hard, because I want to involve her, but I don’t want to start an argument that I know is unwinnable because she doesn’t see things the same way. For example, she asked me why I would hire a photographer.  Yes, that was a serious question. I laughed out loud.  For me, this is one of the few things I would bust the budget for. Good pictures are important to me. She looked at me confused and asked “Can’t people at the wedding just take pictures with their cameras?” WHAT! She also thinks open bar encourages drunken foolishness and is a waste of money, and thinks I should have bridesmaids to essentially get my due since I did so much for other people. She also asked me “Are you going to wear a dress?”  As opposed to what? I mean, I have a shoe closet and proudly sport pink lipstick; I’m not the pants-suit type.
    Then there’s the growing list of people she wants to invite. I’m having a small wedding, which I explained to her. My guest list is too big as it is, and there are people I want to invite that I won’t be able to, and it’s my wedding, so I don’t think she should be able to invite other people. It’s going against the goal of my wedding, to keep it small and only have people I really care about there. Her friends that I see once every two years do not fit that criteria. I won’t look back and say “Geez, I really wish my mom’s friend from work could have been there.” Nope. She doesn’t see anyway not to invite them, and already has despite the fact that Save the Dates haven’t even gone out! Needless to say, this conversation is ongoing.
    I’m envious of friends whose mother helped to plan their shower and made favors with them. My mom would just question why I’m even giving favors. I’m basically just doing things and filling her in after the fact because I can’t deal with having to try to explain or justify things up front. I probably won’t even take her dress shopping. I don’t mean to be cruel, but this whole process isn’t easy to begin with. And that’s not even mentioning my future mother-in-law. Don’t even get me started there.

    So what’s a bride to do? Did you involve your mom in every step? Or go your own way? Is it complicated if your parents are contributing financially?

  • 3/6

    Credit: Life's Highlights Last week, I got an email from a bride who didn’t have a problem yet, but was anticipating a huge one. She and her fiance want a small wedding, surrounded by their good friends and close family. She was pretty sure that wasn’t going to happen once her mother got ahold of the list. What if her Mom insisted on inviting the 120…

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    As brides, we have a lot to stress over. Whether it's the environmental stress of an industry demanding we spend, spend, spend, the intimidating task of pleasing everyone, or the stuff we completely make up (I'm not alone in that, right?), planning a wedding can wreak havoc on your chill. I knew before I got engaged, hell, before I was even sure that I was…

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    Two weeks before Thanksgiving, I found out that the current number of Mrs. Coopersmiths would soon be increased by one  -- my husband’s little brother got engaged. Yay! But then I looked at the calendar again and frowned. Two weeks before Thanksgiving. Seven weeks before New Years. Here we go. The best part of the Holiday season is the number of chances you'll have to spend…

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  • 12/1

    The holidays tend to bring out that big, nasty stress monster in nearly everyone I know. Even Metro and Dolly are a little more catty. All of this hustle, bustle, pressure and travel can often lead to taking the ones nearest and dearest to us -- who also tend to be our own personal shelters from the storm -- for granted. And that's pretty sucky. This…

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    Hi all! First of all, let me apologize to my friend, Rachel. Rachel got married a few years ago and I was hurt that she didn’t invite me or any of her other friends from junior high through high school. Now, as a Broke-Ass Bride, I totally understand and apologize for being mad. OK, let’s talk about one of the most difficult aspects of your…

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    Jennifer Yin via Flickr Creative Commons Dear Heather, How do you handle a seating chart with multiple family situations and conflicts making it mind numbingly hard!? Shelby Dear Shelby, You have two main strategies here: (1) Seat people wherever the hell you want and assume that they are grown-ups and can handle themselves for a single day; (2) Knock yourself out and do your absolute…

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  • 4/9

     Sisters! I am extremely close with my family. Of my three younger siblings, it's difficult for me to think of three people I would rather hang out with. I was convinced that all the horror stories I heard from friends about family members going crazy during the wedding planning process would not happen to me -- no way, no how. Then my younger sister, Tegan,…

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