The garage door sounds around one o’clock sometimes two in the morning. I get out of bed to open the door for my husband. As I open the door, my husband is already in the process of taking off his vest. As he lays it down, I see in his eyes that he is tired. He then begins to strip down in the garage and throws everything in a hamper made specifically for him. But once in the house, he isn’t done. He immediately hits the sink to wash his hands, and then off to the bathroom he goes. I stay behind grabbing our low supply of wipes to wipe down his phone and computer. My husband is a police officer and he is an essential employee.
My husband was on his week of vacation when the news of COVID-19 hit New Mexico. To be honest, I wasn’t too concerned because he was home with me. It wasn’t until more orders from our governor started coming out, and the days of my husband’s vacation started to dwindle. I realized that he still had to go back to work as the numbers for the virus were beginning to rise.
I wish I could say I wasn’t scared, but I was. When my husband returned to work, I was naive. I hoped my husband would say it wasn’t a terrible day and there were fewer criminals on the street. But that wasn’t the case. I had, in my husband’s words, “tunnel visioned” myself into only worrying about the virus. I was constantly reminding him to wash his hands and use Clorox wipes. To me, my husband seemed unbothered by the virus. That made me furious. But he had a lot more on his mind besides the health crisis at hand.
See, it doesn’t matter if there is a health crisis happening. The criminal activity doesn’t stop. There are still 911 calls coming in about anything and everything.
As much as I want my husband to be safe and protected from the virus, he still has a job to do.
He has to respond to the calls that come in and he has to help whoever is in need. That is his job. And to be honest, I have no business trying to relate to his day in anyway.
Can I say with certainty my husband has a fear of the virus? Definitely. Will he ever show it? No. Why? Because he knows that it is beyond his control. As much as I would like him to stay home, he can’t.
This is why it is an uneasy feeling for me. My husband is an essential person all around. He isn’t just a police officer because that is only part of who he is. My husband is someone that I count on to kill spiders around the house. I also depend on him to bring laughter into my heart despite the craziness in the world. He is definitely essential to my kids who depend on him to play unlimited rounds of mouse trap and to watch endless hours of Disney movies.
So after much needed days off you can find my husband slipping a clean fresh vest over his uniform. As my son attempts to shoot my husband with a nerf gun, he begins to boot up his computer. The family oriented man that was just joking about a #tigerking meme, has now transitioned into a non jokester. I can slowly see in my husband’s eyes his concentration on new things.
As he wraps his duty belt around his waist and puts his gun in his holster, he kisses the kids and out to the car he goes. I say my “goodbye, love you, wash your hands” speech as he leaves the driveway. I’m not sure what the day will bring him, but my husband is a police officer and he is essential.