“Your husband/wife calls and says they’ll be home soon. In minutes, how ‘soon’ will they be home?”
Recently, my boss asked our staff this question. Everyone jotted down their answers, then he started with, “Does anyone have 15 minutes or less?” and so on. He then asked if anyone had anything higher than 90 minutes and only two hands went up: mine and and one other female staffer.
Jaws dropped around the room and people started to question how we could even consider that to be ‘soon’. One person even shouted, “That wouldn’t fly in my house!”
We looked at each other and knew that no one would understand.
Let me paint a picture:
You get home from a long day at work (or you’re home but had a long day with kids, etc), you tidy up a bit, and you get dinner started. It’s not your favorite thing to do, but you know your LEO will be hungry after a long shift, and you know that they may have had a day. So, you start dinner only to get the call that they’ve been held over and they’ll be home soon.
The first time you get the call (or text), you get a little frustrated because you’ve had a long day, you’re hungry, and you don’t want dinner to get cold. Time starts ticking by, and you start to wonder if you should just eat by yourself and leave a plate out. After an hour, you’re quite upset, so you just put everything away. An argument may ensue upon their arrival, but all you want is a better time frame and more convenience- something you soon realize does not come with this job.
The second time you get the call, you remember the first time. You’re frustrated and uncertain of whether they’ll be home in 15 minutes or an hour. You try to time dinner, but you’re not sure how this is going to work out anymore.
The third time you get the call, you start to wonder if you should put the kids down before they get home or allow them to stay up so they can see each other before bed. But, you know that they could be home anywhere between 15 minutes and 2+ hours. So, you have to make a judgement call and hope that the kids aren’t down right before they walk through the door.
After getting the call twenty times, the frustration begins to fade and you just settle on the fact that dinner happens when dinner happens. You’ll begin to realize that, more often than not, ‘soon’ means over an hour. And, after twenty times, you’re not frustrated anymore. As a matter of fact, you don’t even bat an eye at the fact that ‘I’ll be home soon’ means you’ll more than likely see your LEO closer to two hours than 15 minutes.
What’s even worse, as my boss pointed out, is when a ‘15 minutes-soon’ person marries a ‘120+ minutes-soon’ person. But, you have to remember that this lifestyle is ever-changing. You may have both been 15 minute-ers when you started your life together; especially if you weren’t part of the LEO family when you married. You change. You adapt. And, your family won’t even remember a time before the ‘I’ll be home soon’ calls.
Instead, you’ll rejoice when they call and say they’ll be home soon and they walk through the door 30 minutes later. You’ll worry when you don’t even get the ‘soon’ call. But, you’ll notice that the worry doesn’t start to set in until much later than it used to.
Besides, there are some benefits to ‘soon’ being over 120 minutes:
- Meals will become easier for you because your crock pot will become your best friend. To end the frustration of making a meal on time, invest in a sold crock pot that has a buffet option. That way, dinner can be made in advance, and everyone can eat when they need to or when you’re all finally together. If you find a few staples that everyone loves, grocery shopping becomes easy and dinner is done before you even leave for work in the morning.
- If you’ve had a long day, you’ll have time to relax and detox from your own day before your LEO comes home and talks about their day. This is especially helpful on days in which you’ve both struggled. Instead of talking at each other to vent, you’ve already had some time to process and this allows you to step back and take in their day as well. You may still be struggling from your day, but you can be there for each other when you’ve already had time to think about your day.
- If you have kids, you get a little extra time with them before your LEO comes home. This allows you to detox in another way. It’s a great way to share those first coming-home hugs and snuggles without feeling like one of you is out-shining the other in the parenting department.
The LEO life isn’t 9-5. It’s getting called in early because there isn’t enough coverage. It’s overtime because a call went out 30 minutes before the end of their shift. The LEO life is a lot of ‘I’ll be home soon’ calls. You have to be flexible. You have to learn how to make it fit into your family’s lifestyle. It’s not always an easy adjustment, but it can be done.