Moving On with A New Normal

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As I sit in a hotel directly across from the Dallas Police Station, I am reminded of how quickly life can change.  When I booked this hotel a month ago, this area was perfectly safe and uneventful.  It is across from the police, so it was almost extra safe…and then the events of July 7th happened and this spot became a target.  Later, this same spot would become a memorial and a place to honor and grieve.  Today, it is a place for normalcy as people move on, but changed forever.

On Tuesday, the last DPD officer funeral was conducted in Michigan. My husband was fortunate to get a ticket on the plane provided by Southwest to carry the officers to pay their respects.  It humbled us how this airline treated them like celebrities providing full meals and hugs to make a difficult journey better.  After attending my first officer funeral, I will forever be changed.  He will continue going to work as normal, but I will never see his job the same.  My eyes and heart have been opened to the dangers as officers continue to get shot daily. 

 I hope that time will not desensitize us to the tragedy of losing your life for your job, but the more it happens the more it seems to be our new normal.  As much as I am proud of him and the role he serves, for the first time he has talked about doing something else and I cannot blame him.

The Good, The Bad, and the Are you Serious? of being married to a police officer

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After reflecting on these nine years of my husband working as an officer, I can sincerely say this list pretty much sums it up for me:

The Good:

1.They look hot in uniform.  They just do. But that uniform also makes them very hot (literally) and sweaty.

2.They (or at least mine) stays in shape.

3. I always feel safe..like he can kick anyone’s butt at anytime.  It is sexy sleeping next to a trained shooter with combat skills.

4.The only other women he is around at work are female officers and prostitutes so not a whole lot of jealousy.

5.They actually get a lot of time off and paid for their overtime (this is a teacher talking).

 

The Bad:

  1. They work holidays, birthdays, game days and pretty much every other important day that matters to you.  Forget plans and calendars.
  2. They leave your house with a gun and bullet proof vest. (The gun goes everywhere including and especially to church.)
  3. Their work gear and uniform seems to be everywhere and takes forever to put on correctly-I have seen guns and socks on the same kitchen counter (before kids). Another wife mentioned how loud Velcro can be (ha!!) and I would like to add how tricky those button covers are as well…little pieces just everywhere and always needing to be washed or dry cleaned.
  4. Deep nights means black out curtains and never being rested. Speaking of sleeping…night terrors are real.  I have to be careful not to wake him suddenly because he could be dreaming of being attacked and someone is getting hit (I took night feedings).  I have heard some helpless cries in his sleep wondering what is going on in his head-I just held him tighter.
  5. The stuff they see, hear and live every day is beyond me.

The Are you Serious?

  1. A good day at work involves a shooting or gruesome accident..a bad day is no calls and nothing happened…really????
  2. Due to today’s climate, I can’t post pics of him in uniform on FB, his social media name is concealed and changed and he pretty much does not want to be identified as an officer.  He gets legit death threats on his life and the life of his family all because he does his job. Also, the current divorce rate of an officer is around 72% last I checked…does not surprise me–their job is not easy.
  3. When someone special comes into town like the president, that means a 12-16 hour workday without notice.  This is also true of any major sporting event in our city. I know some may say 20 hour workdays are the norm for my husband..but in all that gear and hot uniform?
  4. His shift, station and duties can change at any time with or without notice and you just go with the flow.  He literally comes home some days and says “for the next two months… I will be working at this this time etc.”  You just get used to rearranging your schedule and going with the flow.
  5. He has to constantly live in fear of getting in trouble.  If he is at the wrong place at the wrong time, it will be plastered all over the Internet.  We always have a DD (that is smart anyway) and we choose our friends wisely.  If you make a mistake, get ready to read about it because the consequences are on you and everyone will know.

I am sure this list will grow and change as the years go on, but any officer wife or husband to be fair can relate to this!  We love our officers, but life with them ain’t easy–but so worth it!

 

The good news is: Officer wives are not weenies!2013-03-06 18.45.30

July 7th,2016

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I have to go back nine years ago when my husband first entered the police academy for Dallas…July 11th, 2007 to be exact.  After a year of never ending tests, physical challenges and basically a boot camp style mental beat down–he finally got his badge.  Later came his recruit stage where he followed another officer…then two man and finally one man where he could officially patrol alone.  I was so proud of all his hard work and mental toughness, but then came the hard part where I had to be mentally tough.  He started his career working deep nights and has never stopped which meant I had to get use to sleeping alone and being by myself at nights.

I did not start off being very good at it.  In fact I was straight up paranoid.  I would pace the house and look out each window.  Turn the TV up loud so others thought there was talking..would jump at every sound especially when people would ring the doorbell and run (we had a few night of this-terrifying).  I would have my Bible handy at all times, recite scripture and kept the phone glued to me.  I was anxious, afraid and paranoid and had to get over it quickly or get sick from exhaustion.  With lots of prayer, I got used to it and have ended up pretty good about it now.  Many other wives tell me they could never fall asleep alone…but when you have no choice you learn to do it.

One way I learned to do this though came at a cost.  I could not watch the news at night and I could not watch crime shows of any kind either.  I learned that the hard way.  I would have nightmares for days along with hearing noises, so I learned to watch happy shows or keep the TV off.

Jump to this week…July 7th, 2016.  We now have a kid so my nights are not alone anymore which is helpful.  But now instead of worrying for just my safety I have a little one’s to worry about as well.  I always fear the “what if” emergencies, but for the most part we have relaxing evenings at home and do whatever we want.  On this night, I was watching recordings of Million Dollar Listing while my son played with the Talking Tom cat app on my phone.  We were going about our business happily until I took the phone to check for messages which I often do in case my husband texts while at work.  I saw three messages so checked them real quick.  All three were from friends or neighbors asking “Did Nathan have to work tonight?  Is he okay?”

I had no clue what they were talking about and replied with those words of curiosity.  They both seemed shocked and said turn on the news.  One even tried to call and tell me in person, but I hate talking on the phone and avoided it.  I turned to channel 8 and immediately saw what everyone was worried about…Dallas officers were ambushed and under attack.  The city was in chaos and all you could hear and see was panic with officers in position to find a shooter. Now, my husband does not wear a uniform to work so I knew the ones in uniform were not him, but he could be anywhere in Dallas at that moment.  His job requires plain clothes, but basically to do whatever is necessary and whatever is asked.  This job ranges from the very safe to the extremely dangerous so to speculate if he was there or what he was doing was beyond me.  I also had no clue when this all started, but I knew he had not contacted me whatever that meant.  With shaky hands, but trying to be positive and strong I sent him the text “I see the news.  Are you okay?”  In what would be the longest minute of my life, he finally responded.  “Yes…but can’t be on my phone right now.”

Those words were sweet relief followed by lots of questions that could not be answered for hours to come.  I immediately started to let the ones contacting me that I heard from him and he is okay.  I then went through the painful process of watching the TV to see what was going on, but not wanting to watch the TV because I had a son present that hears random things though is still too young to understand (thank God!).  In between that, I kept in touch with worried friends and social media.  Hour after hour the news stories, the death count, the injuries and the events of that night played everywhere.  I kept watching for my husband not knowing where he was at or what he was doing. One officer put in nicely “That would have been awful to be at home not knowing what was happening…at least we knew what was going on.”  Exactly!!   An hour later I texted again…”I know you can’t be near your phone but keep in touch.”  He would later tell me about more shots being fired and being in a car chase, but still okay.  At one point, I did not hear from him in a couple of hours and all I could think is “If he is hurt, would he tell me?”  He does a great job of shielding me from his job especially since he works nights and does not want me to worry.  I began to doubt if I knew the whole story or what parts he would tell me…trying to accept what is happening while keeping your mind on things positive is hard.  I prayed, quoted scripture and just thought happy things.  When I had had enough of the news…we turned it on to Disney.  Disney was our happy place…Sheriff Callie saved us.

A friend would later text that her husband spoke with him and he is good so that gave me peace of mind.  Even though it was well after midnight…I could not sleep.  Could not rest…felt so anxious and stiff with a knot in my stomach.  Nothing made me feel better, but I still had a child to entertain and discipline when he sprayed Windex everywhere and broke a plate.  He was a much needed sweet relief to the range of emotions I was feeling.  Facebook was also a relief kinda…in between random opinions I would get sweet words of encouragement…all of our friends and family were checking on us-that is what is good about social media.  My husband even posted he was good, but unable to respond–that brought lots of sweet comments.  Finally, around 2am he texted he was going back to the station and might be home on time…then and only then I tried to rest.  I eventually fell asleep, but when he came home I went in the kitchen and hugged him before laying my head down to really sleep…we all woke up the next day close to noon after such a long night.  I was thankful my husband came home and I did not receive the dreaded phone call…but my heart ached for the women and families that were not so unfortunate.

Now here is where I get real.  The main thought that kept going through my mind that night was “I did not kiss him goodbye.”  On that dreadful night, we were on night three of a much heated argument.  You see being married to an officer, working opposite work schedules in addition to already having a rocky marriage from past incidences..those that read my blog previously know what I am talking about…all that can weigh down a marriage.  I have no idea how we have lasted 12 years with all the odds stacked against us…I do know how…Jesus and lots of him.  But on this night, we had attended my son’s swim lessons, my husband was the parent in the parent tot class (yes, he did ring around the rosy with the other moms).  Since we were not on speaking terms, at the end of the class I told him “be safe”..funny how you remember those details…then took our son home while he went to work.  The entire night I kept thinking “I did not kiss him goodbye-I have to get another kiss.  He cannot die tonight.”   I am sure some might say “He was not likely going to die”, but I am sure the other wives thought that as well.  A new rule in this house is no matter how mad we get-we kiss goodbye–no matter what!

Flash forward to today, the new challenge each day is walking the fine line between over-talking about it and not talking at all.  I want our home to be his happy place and his normal knowing that he hears enough of it at work.  The tragedy allowed us to talk a lot of things out and cry some much needed tears while recommitting to work harder to meet each other’s needs despite the tough challenge ahead of us.  Him going to days is nowhere in sight and my job as a teacher does not work nights so we must make it work.  I committed to listening more about his daily struggles without freaking out and he committed to opening up more-it is the only way officers can be able to do this job without losing it.  We have watched the news together and kept up with current events including attending a funeral later this week.  It comes down to I am here with whatever you need, but our home is base and it is safe.  Talk as much or as little as needed…just know I am here.

I struggle seeing those officers’ faces knowing it could have been my husband, but by the grace of God was not.  I also struggle to feel safe that if it is not him now..could it be him later?  All those thoughts are real and just, but the truth is none of us know tomorrow so we must live for the moment now.  We must love with full hearts and do what God has predestined us to do while we have the time to do it.  I will never forget July 7th 2016.   I grieve with Dallas and for the DPD.  I am proud to be an officer wife and never more proud to be a Texan.  This was easily the worst night for me being married to an officer, but also one of my proudest nights knowing he was serving and protecting our city despite all the what-ifs and oh nos.

The good news is: “Some people never get to meet their heroes; I married mine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saying YES to God

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So you may remember, we put our house on the market in February. It was sold a week later and we closed in March. Moved into grandma’s until May then moved into our new home and finally got everything settled and decorated by July. Yes, it finally feels like home. For a girl that resisted and prayed against the move it was God’s will and I can see that now. We save money by not going out as much…I cook way more since it is easier. We have more time as a family and the area is beautiful. I fought the change but am thankful I said yes to God.
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I accepted a position as a Literacy Specialist which took me out of my comfort zone in the classroom. I felt God calling me to this position but I do not like change and I had already moved three times in six months. I know God has me here for a purpose but I still really miss the relationships of a classroom. I still feel lost and love when I get to sub, but on weekends when I am playing with my son I know it was what God called me to do. I can be present with him and I have been called to do a lot for the school to help others. It has been a blessing to have the time and energy to help others rather than drowning in my own mess. Glad I said yes. image
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Finally, amazing how God works when you obey. Our church is planting a new church in Kaufman and needs member to help start it. God knew we would be there so the pieces are starting to fit. Awesome to see the changes make sense when you were blindly going where we felt he was leading. I have a feeling my job may change in the future as well but I am still in prayer for that direction. We are leaving a great community group and people for Jesus but we know new relationships will be built. imageimage

For a girl who hates change she has had her fill of it. But change is inevitable so I must learn to embrace it. I am thankful God has chosen us and I am relieved we said yes. Be in prayer with us for the things yet to come!imageimage

A Day at the Zoo

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This is normally our Fair Day, but instead we went to the Dallas Zoo. It was perfect! I crowded, great weather, no major meltdowns, ice cream, animals, rides, toys and glory to God for safe travels. Now that we live in Kaufman, trips to the zoo require a drive and directions but I got there and back safely and without getting lost…go me!image
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Happy Adoption Day!

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The best part about being adopted is you get TWO days to celebrate YOU!  Obviously we celebrate Callen’s birthday, but every year in June (exactly six months from his birth) we get to celebrate the day he became officially ours forever.  Since his birthday falls around Christmas, I think we really enjoy Adoption Day a little more…the only setback is his cousin’s birthday is on the same date so we have to share that day…but that just means more cake and more parties!  We never want to forget that feeling when we had official access to his records and he no longer belonged to an adoption agency…he was ours!  No more home visits, no more paperwork, no more proving we were fit to be his parents…no more hurdles to jump through.  It is crazy how having a child biologically is SO MUCH EASIER than adoption.  We had to really prove that we could handle this versus just showing that our DNA matches…but he was worth it!

Here are a couple of pics of Callen at six months in the court room:

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Then here is one on the first anniversary of his Adoption Day at a year and a half…

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Finally this year as he waits for cake…hard to believe it has been TWO years!!

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The Good news is:  On June 14th, 2013 Callen became an heir to the Tyndall throne.  We give God the glory for leading us to our child and making our family of three.  I know that every moment of my life led me to parent him and for that I am thankful.

Brother Bio Visit

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Through our open adoption, we are so blessed that we get to stay in touch with Callen’s biological family.  We connect with his birthparents through Facebook, letters, text messages etc. which is great for us both.  They love getting immediate updates and are so supportive to us…we are able to ask them any questions that we need to ask and I love that openness.  We can thank them daily for this gift and share God’s love with each other.

But, we also get to stay in contact with his biological brother as well.  He is adopted by a family near Houston and at least twice a year we get together to let them play and interact.  This June, we connected at the AIM picnic where both boys were adopted.  Our son is two and his older brother is six, so they have great connection in their age difference.  Callen loves being the little brother, getting help from him, doing big boy stuff with his help etc and M gets to be a big brother, be in charge and set the example.  It is a perfect mix.  By the end, they were hugging, high fiving, rough housing and talking up a storm.  It is a strong relationship that right now is simple and I pray it always will be.  I know there will be questions down the road, but I pray that they will understand this is their normal and all families are different.  They are fortunate to have each other and God’s hand is over this situation.  We know Callen will likely be an only child which bums us out at times, but thankful due to adoption, we have contact with his bio brother.  We plan to keep them close so they will have each other in the future and can navigate this life together.  Open adoption provides that gift!

The good news is:  Here are some pics from their meetings in the past

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