Today is my 11th wedding anniversary.
Physically I am alone and my husband is deployed 10,000km away surrounded by bombs, deserts and an airconditioned c-can he calls home. He’s crapping in a hole in the ground, working in plus 50 degrees! And is still unsure how he will fare getting home and back again with COVID. I cringe when people’s heads tilt to the side as I tell them about what Glenn is doing now and where he is in the world. Their reaction followed by the words: but you have kids at home. So, in honour of my husband, can I take you on a tiny journey of words to show you just how far we have come?
OUR 11 YEAR JOURNEY
There were so many things stacked against us when we first met and even the chance of us meeting how we did was so slim that looking back 11 years later, I still know that fate stepped in that night. I was still married, he was still married (both happily separated). We met in a bar and I could literally count on both my hands how many times I “bar-hopped” in my life. He was there with a group of bomb-tech police officers and I was a social worker - two professions that traditionally don't mix.
Yet, when we started talking the entire room disappeared. When I left to go home, I gave him my number and instead of playing games, he left me 3 text messages and a voicemail. Three days later he showed up with a mixed CD of his favourite tunes and a bouquet of flowers, took me on a tour of where he grew up for our first “official date”, bought me ice cream and kissed me “ how a girl should be kissed”.
Dating a police officer wasn’t easy and I could imagine that the younger version of Jody, you know the one BEFORE the failed practice marriage, would have had many moments of insecurities. There were three things though that helped us get started on the right foot:
I finally liked myself. I had been separated for 5 years before I met Glenn and I could handle being alone. It took me a long time to get there!!! Little did I know how helpful this would be now.
He was already a police officer when we met. And I had also worked in an industry with a dark sense of humour and jaded reality of the 4% eating our social resources. Also living with the loss and trauma personally, I knew our world we lived in wasn't a Utopia.
I spent some time working in 911. Not only did this give me an understanding behind the scenes of the policing world but also the Melrose Place of it all. I was pursued as a new dispatcher, sent dick-pics over CAD but he chose me and I chose him. And we made a decision to tell each other everything, even when it was hard.
We were married on Sept 24, 2009. Got pregnant with our first baby in January just before he deployed for 6.5 weeks to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics. I didn't hear from Glenn for the first week he was out there so when we finally did talk boy did he get an earful! Too bad neither he nor I knew that argument was fuelled by raging new hormones until Valentine's Day when I took a pregnancy test before heading into my 5 am 911 shift. It's amazing how being a girlfriend or a DINK-wife to a police officer is very different from being the Mom to kids of a police officer.
I had already had the experience of calling for an alternative ride home when Glenn got called out to work while we were at dinner. Using my jacket and body as cover when Glenn thought his weapon had slipped from his holster at a movie theatre. When I yelled that I was writing to the Chief because Glenn had to go back to work after a 19-hour shift, 20 minutes of sleep in -30 weather but nothing prepared me for his on the job dog-bite that stopped our planned-water-birth. Nor the weeks of me and my 8.5-month huge belly driving him to the infectious disease clinic to get intravenous antibiotics as a result of the bite. But seeing a big TAC guy hold his 8lb daughter? Ok, let's do it again.
Wham-bam, baby#2 eighteen months later (yes, planned) but the delivery didn't go that great and this time it was Glenn's turn to almost watch his wife fade away. Glenn is an amazing Dad. Where most guys would have barfed or fainted at the amount of blood coming from their spouse and then hearing her whisper, “you need to get Gerry off my chest and take him out of here, I can't die with him on top of me.” Glenn was there for Gerry. No panic. No fear. Just love. What should have been a traumatic birth, Glenn surrounded our son with peace.
Uterus tear, Bells Palsy, promotion to hell where offenders spit on your lunch, adrenaline drops. Depression became our life. Our sweet little family was about to experience the time that would almost break us and at the same moment became the reason to fight.
HAPPY MOMENTS AREN’T WHAT MAKES A MARRIAGE GROW
Have you all noticed that I haven't spent much time writing about the lighthearted moments? The moments that make it to photo albums? It's because you don’t grow in comfort. All the little snags and bumps along the way were getting our muscles ready. It doesn't take strength to go through easy times.
In the last couple of years of Glenn’s career as a police officer, it took everything in him to bring it to work. He loved his brothers. He fought for and with and would have given his life for each of the Blue on the street. But policing has changed and the higher he went up the chain of command the further he got from his passions and his fire started to go out.
I'm sure that’s happened to some of you. In the end, we were lucky if we got one day a week out of him.
That's 4 days a month he was ours. He was answering messages, emails, stressing about the 130 emails each day going into his inbox. Mondays you’d swear the floor in our house was covered in eggshells and eventually, I just started to take the kids anywhere to not be around.
Then the famous question: “Who do you think is going to be the next person in our family to die?” And we both answered; “Him”. So, do you forge on in a career that's killing you? Ya, but it has a pension. Ya, but you’ll be dead. So we made the courageous decision to have a leap of faith.
We started with our WHY. We don't want to settle throughout life. We want to role model to our kids a life that we would want them to live. We started with us. Our language, our time together, our vision on the kind of marriage we wanted. Instead of zombie-ing in front of the television, we would stand in the kitchen and talk for hours, we started to Google different houses and dream of where we want to live.
Next, finding your fire. What drives you? When was the last time you dreamed about life? Glenn has always dreamt of being deployed and working with his passion (bombs) somewhere.
Thankfully we don't live in a war-zone! And also thankfully he is super wickedly talented in this area. He has taught all over Canada, led many officers to be accredited, gotten recognition from high ranks - he knows his stuff!! So, he started looking and low and behold companies were looking for him too.
Glenn would have to leave to work.
When he is home for 2-3 weeks straight he is PRESENT. He doesn't have 2 cell phones to be accountable to or emails to read or check. He just gets to be with us.
He is HAPPY. And probably a little crazy… I mean this man plays with bombs for a living! But he loves it! He genuinely LOVES WHAT HE IS DOING. How many people can say that in life?
He makes enough money for me to do what we both always wanted, raise amazing children and chase my passions.
We live an AUTHENTIC life. We practice strong MINDSET and GRATITUDE every day.
Distance just might make the heart grow fonder cause we are madly in love with each other and can’t keep our hands off each other when he is home :)
Doors are OPENING around the world for new travel adventures, for international schooling for the kids.
He’s made new life-long friends from around the world - and as a bonus, they’ve invited us over!!
I could truly go on and on because what we focus on expands. Today I could focus on celebrating alone. But I’m not. I have these 2 crazy kids and a man who I’m crazy about. Eleven years of growing, learning, stretching outside our comfort zone. No matter what happens in life - the bumps, the rocks, the valleys or the picture-perfect moments I’m honoured to have tied my roots to his in Kauai 11 years ago today.
I'd marry you all over again Glenn. I’d hit every bump with you and hold on just as tight. You are the love of my life and I am so lucky you asked me to marry you. I'm forever grateful to be your girl. Happy Anniversary my African Cowboy.