We have been married just over nine months and I am still trying to figure out this correctional office wife life. A couple weeks back my husband and I got into a disagreement about time management on his days off and I felt very much beside myself. Fortunately, I am a member of a Facebook group for wives of correctional officers. One of the members recommended this book for me. I had such a hard time putting it down; and I can say it provided wonderful insight on how to manage. The important thing for me to remember as I read the book was to remember it was written by the wife of a LEO, or law enforcement officer.
Regardless of if your spouse is law enforcement, fire department, corrections, this book can apply to you.Bullets in the Washing Machine, by Melissa Littles, is a quick read of anecdotes and short stories to help support and give insight into the life of a wife standing behind their superhero. I appreciated this book so much because it addresses so many issues I deal with on a regular basis. The words on the pages managed to wrap around me and support me as I pondered the future of our marriage and the toll that might be taken on it with such a demanding profession. The book provided me security knowing I’m not the only one who has had to deal with having a messed up background and still being loved by a man stable and strong enough to handle my problems and his.
If I even remotely attempted to share all of the tid-bits I loved about the book I would be typing most of it out for you. I have included an excerpt of my two favorite stories as they applied to me and my situation as a correctional officers wife:
I am a correctional officer
I am a correctional officer.
I have sworn to protect life and property, deter inappropriate behavior and serve my community.
I have answered a calling that few can answer. I do a job that few can do and fewer understand.
I stand upon a line drawn in darkness that separates good and evil.
I live my life to a higher degree of moral and ethical standards, not because I have to but because I choose too.
I sacrifice time with my family and friends for insignificant individuals.
I look out for you and protect you from your worst nightmares.
I am ridiculed, second guessed and made fun of by young and old alike, knowing that those same people will look to me to keep criminals behind bars.
I am spit upon, assaulted and killed while serving others. Yes I continue to serve.
I interact with the most evil of people, yes am expected to perform my duties flawlessly.
If someone escapes or is hurt while in custody, it’s my fault. I should have been more observant, I don’t care if you blame me. I have broad shoulders and will gently point out to you that we are understaffed and worked to the edge on a regular basis.
I will listen as you tell me you pay my salary and you will have my job while I silently wish I could tell you I need a raise and that you are not man/woman enough to fill my shoes.
I have feelings, I have good days and bad days, I work when I am sick so the criminals stay in their cells.
I would not trade my job for any other in the world. I am a correctional officer and I love it.
What is a corrections wife?
A corrections wife is more courageous than her correctional officer. He has pepper spray, weapons, a vest and other officers. She faces these things alone with just her love to get through it. She uses the strength of her character to survive.
She knows when he has had a bad day.
She understands when he says, “I can’t”. She waits until he can.
She knows when to ask and when to just reach out and touch his arm. She is always there for him.
She never lets him leave without a kiss and an I love you. Even when she is mad at him.
She means it with all her heart and soul when she says, “I love you and be careful.”
She has learned to accept what she cannot change.
She accepts that convicted criminals will always come first when he is working. She won’t like it though.
She has learned to be flexible.
She has found strength she did not know she had.
She has found courage she did not know existed.
She has known sorrow and pain, mind numbing, heart stopping sorrow and pain and yet she made it through and found peace.
She knows the joy of a simple note left on the counter after he left for work.
She stands tall in the face of adversity.
She holds her head high when people mock him or make disparaging comments about his profession.
She comforts him when he is hurting.
She encourages him when he is down.
She gives him strength when he is weak.
She holds him when words wont help.
She calms him in the darkness when he demons wont let him rest.
She leads him from the darkness of the evil he works in at the end of his shift.
She waits patiently for his return at the end of this shift.
She protects herself from the looks and words of others.
she is strong to make it through her days and nights spent alone.
She is strong to protect his family while he protects others.
She only shows her tenderness to those who understand her life.
She cries when he leaves to face the unknown.
She cries when she is alone in bed.
She prays as she watches him drive away.
She lays awake, waiting for him when she should be sleeping.
She longs for the sound of his keys in the door, assuring her hes home safe.
Her heart skips a bead when the phone rings at night when he is not there.
She understand what no one else can.
She cherishes each and every moment she has with him.
She loves him when others hate him and what he stands for.
She goes with him to comfort others who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, hoping it is never her.
My wife is a corrections wife and she knows all these things. She is my best friend, my support and MY HERO. I love her so much and she makes me so proud.
If you are the significant other of a corrections officer, law enforcement officer, or firefighter don’t forget you are BADASS! Be proud of yourself. There are definitely goes to be struggles as you maneuver life on your own. Remind yourself not just anyone can be an officer; so not just anyone can be the significant other of one either. You will need confidence as you handle the strange looks, you will need organizational skills to be both mom and dad certain night of the week, you will have to be strong when the prison’s phone number comes up on your caller ID. Be proud of yourself; I’m proud of you.
Thank you Melissa for writing Bullets in the Washing Machine; thank you for making me feel like I can be a correction officer’s wife!