The last time I went to a haunted house, it wasn’t pretty.
I was with my 13-year-old Little Sister (capitalized because we were matched through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program). We went to Fright Fest at a local theme park together, and she begged me to go into the haunted house.
Fun fact: I absolutely hate haunted houses.
I can’t do them. I can tell myself all I want how “it’s not real”, but deep inside there’s this lurking question of – but could it be real?
It’s 100% irrational, but – I’m okay with it. It doesn’t affect me most of the time.
As we waited in line, I kept thinking, “It’ll be fine. I’m a grown up. She doesn’t seem scared – why should I be scared?”
I kept that positive attitude all the way until we actually walked into the haunted house. Then panic set in, I shut my eyes as tight as I could, and grabbed on to the shirt of the poor guy in front of me for dear life.
When I’m feeling down and out and in need of encouragement, one of my go-to methods is to find an inspiring quote on Pinterest that looks nice and make it my phone’s lock screen.
It’s really a great way to pick myself up, because when I inevitably finding myself stress-browsing my phone, the first thing I see is that encouragement. When I see it over and over again, it starts to stick with me.
The quote I have on my phone right now is, “A little progress each day adds up to big results.”
I love it so much. I’m currently in the “messy middle” of about a dozen things, so I need the reminder that if I keep plugging away, the small effort I put in each day will add up and amazing things will happen.
I was thinking about it the other day, though, and I realized this quote goes both ways. While a little forward progress each day adds up, so do the bad habits you have. They can add up over time, too, and they certainly don’t bring you big results – well, not big positive results, anyway.
The bright side is, these habits can be fixed. Even if you’re totally guilty of some of them (or even most or all of them), you can take it one day at a time and work on better habits. A little progress each day, baby.
I am ridiculously stubborn. Like, seriously – so stubborn.
Whether it’s a result of my German heritage or what, it’s sometimes a problem.
In fact, when I was a teenager, I didn’t actually think I’d ever get married. I didn’t think it was in the cards for me because, boy, did people get on my nerves. I wasn’t what you’d call a “team player”.
More often than not, I thought in terms of, “my way or the highway.”
When I met my husband, things changed. I was so in love with him, and I didn’t ever get tired of spending time with him – a completely new concept. I’d do anything to make our marriage to last a lifetime.
But it definitely hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Believe it or not, my tendency to want things exactly how I want them to be hasn’t subsided just because I fell in love. I’ve had to work really hard on my faults – which I don’t know, I guess is part of the whole point of marriage ;).
I struggled a lot with communicating with my husband. I wanted him to just intuitively know what I needed without having to spell it out for him. I wanted to do what I wanted to do, make the plans I’d come up with happen, spend money how I wanted, and have chores done without nagging or goading.
And then, of course, I wanted him to see things my way, and just do things how I wanted them done.
The thing is, marriage isn’t just about me or just about my husband. It’s about us, conquering the world together. It’s about being able to overcome anything that comes our way, and making our marriage work… no matter what.
It’s about being a team.
When I was pregnant, I had so many ideas of what motherhood would look like. I was scared of the responsibility and scared I wouldn’t measure up, and I was scared of what effect a baby would have on our marriage.
So I watched.
There are a lot of battles you fight as a police wife: police equipment everywhere, a 24/7/365 schedule, an overwhelming fear when I do not hear from him for hours … but the most stubborn one is the work phone.
Most people in the world see smartphones as a convenience. I see it as my enemy. I often feel like I am fighting for attention and my opponent is 5″ tall and 3″ wide. Having the requirement to carry this phone and answer it is bad enough, but then there are the emails, the text messages, and all the other potential distractions smartphones come with.
No matter the time nor place, that phone can ruin all our best laid plans. We could be arriving at my parent’s house for Christmas Eve dinner then his phone rings. Next thing I know he is gone off to work and me and our two dogs are stranded.
If I’m being honest, I hated my husband’s time in the academy.
For one thing, he was far away 4 days a week (since it was an out-of-town academy) and we were living with my in-laws, with whom there was admittedly some tension.
On top of that, we were in a completely new town where I didn’t really know anyone.
Oh and the cherry on top? I was 14 weeks pregnant when he started the academy. Hormones, baby.
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As a rookie police wife, I felt like I didn’t have connections with other police wives yet, so I turned to books. Specifically, books that could relate to my current situation. Reading, especially while my husband was on shift helped me to deal with the situations we were facing. It also helped to paint a picture of what our life may look like later on down the road. It helped me feel connected to him, even when he was away.
For my husband, who wasn’t naturally an avid reader, he started reading a lot more when it was something he was passionate about. He enjoyed reading books about his career. He gained a clearer insight to why things occurred, and he learned important statistics related to his job.
Fast forward almost 10 years and I am still reading books related to my police wife life, but now it’s a little different. Now that we have children, finding books that relate to all of us is just as important.
Technology is pretty amazing, isn’t it? I mean, think about it. We live in a time where if we miss someone, we can instantly contact them via text or social media or anything. That wasn’t the case even 10 years ago. Heck, I remember spending many of my teenage years warning people NOT to call me until after 9 (or else I’d go over my minutes and get in trouble!)
But I think a lot about my husband’s grandparents when I think about this topic. My husband’s grandfather was a game warden, and his grandmother has said there would sometimes be as long as a week at a time without word from him.
I mean, they’re an awesome example of a strong law enforcement couple, because he passed away a few nights before their 76th wedding anniversary. Talk about commitment. But I can imagine it wasn’t always easy.
If you’ve been on Pinterest for any length of time (or been in a long distance relationship), you’ve probably heard of “open when” letters. They’re letters you pre-write for a particular person for them to open when something special happens or they’re feeling happy/sad/lonely, whatever.
I LOVE them. I think they’re such a fun idea, and they especially appeal to me since I like writing (hence the reason I blog :)) and they’re an inexpensive, meaningful gift idea. I love homemade gifts, and one from the heart like this really appeals to me, especially because it can be enjoyed for a long time.
If you want to make a set, just choose however many you’d like to do (say, 5 or 10… or 24, if you’re really feeling motivated!) and write out the letters however you’d like. You can type them or hand write them if you’d like, or type to get it all formatted, then copy it down in handwriting if you want to make sure it’s perfect (or if you’re okay with stuff being scratched out as you go, that’s fine too!)
He should have been home by now.
He said he was going out with the shift for a beer or two, but that doesn’t take three hours.
You check your phone. Again, nothing.
You check Facebook to see if maybe there was a call that made them leave work late. Nope, still nothing.
You check other social media, you check your phone one more time, and you even spend a minute or two listening to that scanner app you downloaded a few months ago to no avail.
The fear that your husband is in imminent danger suddenly gives way to doubt when you remember the whole shift means the whole shift, including his new female partner. Suddenly, the concern you had for your husband has turned into pure jealousy.