I’ve written about being a part of the thin blue line. Joining the prestigious family of law enforcement as the spouse of an officer.
In those early years, I learned a great deal. Don’t leave the garage door open all day. Don’t answer the door during the middle of the day. Give my husband some room after work to decompress.
I also learned a few codes. The important ones.
51-50. Crazy person. I felt it was important to learn this one should it ever creep up during an argument. If he was going to call me crazy, I was at least going to know about it.
The other one I learned early on was 11-99. Officer needs help.
But last Saturday, after almost 14 years, I learned something new.
There is strength in numbers.
A fellow law enforcement wife, Rae Johnsen, felt it was time to bring law enforcement wives together and she was right. Spouses from many different law enforcement agencies came together, under one roof. She called us to Back the Badge.
Women came locally, from a hundred miles away and everything in between. A group of strong, independent women who support their law enforcement husbands.
It’s easy to tear a single piece of paper. It’s far more difficult to tear a phone book.
Over a hundred women gathered and put their pages together. We laughed and cried. And an amazing thing happened.
We didn’t stage a coup. Or start a crusade. We didn’t design our own flag. We didn’t talk politics or promotions.
We discovered common ground.
And I learned I wasn’t alone. I am not the only woman who has learned and is learning to live in the in-between. That place where the stress of the law enforcement life and the isolation of the law enforcement life collide.
On those days when the stress is bearing down and the fear of the unmentionable looms large, all I have to do is remember that day. The smiles, the hugs, the knowing nods. I’m not alone. And even better, I’m not crazy. There are a whole group of women who get me and get a part of my journey.
A group of women who have been taught not to trust others, found each other. And we discovered there is strength in numbers. If you haven’t discovered that feeling yet, you should. And although there isn’t another Back the Badge event scheduled (yet), there are other ways to get connected.
Here are some options to check out:
Back the Badge (on Facebook)
Wives Behind the Badge (www.wivesbehindthebadge.org)
You have your spouse’s back, but maybe someone should have yours.
Have you found strength in numbers?