Different But Same

DIFFERENT BUT SAME • 06.15.16

A smile crosses his face as he realizes I’ve walked through the door from work. He stretches his arms out, pulls me in close, and speaks four simple words.

How was your day?

We fall into a familiar routine as I begin to talk about my world: high-resolution files, all-things CMYK, this month’s magazine cover.

We go to press next week and I’m still waiting on this one image… not to mention we’re trying to resolve a color-matching issue with the printer. Too much magenta, not enough cyan! Also, I read a manuscript draft of an article that’s slated to run later this year and I may or may not have casually sobbed at my desk.

He listens, nods, supports, sympathizes. While his print production skills may not extend beyond the realm of Microsoft Paint, he understands the language. Spot colors and dpi and pdf/x, all packaged into 200+ pages that are read by a million people each month.

But enough about me… how was your day?

Our cadence continues, roles reversed, as he begins to talk about his world: arrest warrants, homicides, lights and sirens.

Did I tell you that I did CPR on a guy at the hospital earlier this week? It’s a lot different than the training dummies! The guy was stable when I left, fortunately. I got in my first foot chase today – jumped a fence and everything before I caught him. Also, I was subpoenaed for that assault case I told you about, so I have to go to court tomorrow.

I listen, nod, support, sympathize… and eventually, interrupt.

I’ll never again have the most impressive work-day story, will I?

We both grin. The wrong shade of teal is a big deal in my universe, and I’m often frustrated when traffic turns my 45-minute commute into an hour. Yet I married a man whose former job required him to create a will and designate a power of attorney when he was still a teenager, whose current job requires him to wear a bulletproof vest.

In all things, perspective.

––

The stark contrast between our jobs, our lives, is not lost on me.

I catch typos; he catches criminals.
I preflight and ship; he protects and serves.
I review bluelines; he is the blue line.

Yet, somehow, it works. My world of FPO and SWOP mixed with his world of FTO and SWAT, our dinner conversations intertwined amidst tales of outside front covers and officers (both OFC, mind you).

I may never again have the most impressive work-day story.

But I have him – the opportunity to support him as this new chapter of his life unfolds, the blessing of being supported by him as I continue to do the work I always dreamed of doing. Two different people, two different passions, but the same desire to see the other succeed.

Plus, despite all our differences, we both carry a couple of extra magazines wherever we go.


On New Chapters, Again

ON NEW CHAPTERS, AGAIN • 03.17.16

My sleeping habits rival that of a teenage boy, which works in my favor when my husband is up before the sun. The hum of the coffee pot, the rustling of the closet hangers, the deafening squeak the ironing board makes when it opens, not even the beeping of the security system being armed can lure me from my slumber.

Until it can.

It happened just once, a few months ago, my mind suddenly aware of his presence in the room well before my own alarm went off. I was in no state to have a coherent conversation, for what it's worth, but I was conscious, which is more than I can say about most mornings at 5 a.m.

"It's okay," I heard him say as I began to stir. "I'm getting ready to leave. Go back to sleep."

I nodded in agreement, my eyes still closed as he walked around to my side of the bed. He bent down to kiss my forehead and I reached up to wrap my arms around him. As my hands clasped together against his back, I had only one thought.

What is that?

His training involved a great deal of physical fitness, but no back muscle could possibly be that solid. Right? Surely I would've noticed it before now. Yet here he was, an impenetrable mass from his shoulder blades to his waist. It felt more like steel than muscle, to be honest.

I suddenly realized oh, yes, the bullet proof vest.

I knew he had one, in theory. I had seen it from time to time, stashed in a corner or tucked away near the back of our closet. I knew he wore it, in theory. I had heard him mention it on occasion while swapping work stories in the evening.

Everything up to that point had been exactly that, though – in theory. All of a sudden, the reality of the situation – of the new chapter that was about to start in our lives – was no longer theoretical.

This is actually happening. The man that I love and adore more than any other human being is now in a position that requires him to wear a bullet proof vest. Every single day.

It was a life-changing hug.

Tomorrow he'll take an oath, an oath to protect and to serve. While the words will differ from the oath he took over seven years ago, his heart remains the same – filled with courage, integrity, selflessness.

A journey more than three years in the making, culminating with months of physical, educational, and tactical training, he'll soon swap the scenarios for the streets, trade the theoretical for the tangible, his life – our life – changed forever.

At least in theory :)