In my house it’s always been a rule, dad eats all the leftovers no matter what they are. It does not matter if I like them or not, it’s just part of my job. So for the past 21 years when I go to work I usually have no idea what Andrea has packed for me from our current batch of leftovers. Every day at lunch time it’s always a little bit of a surprise and a reminder of the love of my family.
Sadly, I must admit if you’d have asked me about “leftovers” I would have immediately thought you were referencing something like the paragraph above. I was ignorant to the emotional leftovers that Andrea has had to deal with for most of our marriage.
As a police officer you cannot get emotionally involved in cases. You must remain neutral as a fact finder and as part of that you learn to suppress and hide many of your natural human emotions. Doing this shift after shift, month after month and year after year changes who you are. It begins to impact other relationships because you are so used to being emotionally detached or unavailable a lot of times you are afraid to show your emotions because you don’t know if you’ll be able to suppress them again once they are out.
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I really saw the impact this was having on Andrea. As I would work all day, then run to the gym and coach classes. By the time I got home she was done for the day and headed to or in bed already. It was apparent she was unhappy, yet in my mind I was doing what was necessary to provide for our family and create a new future for us. We spent a few uncomfortable evenings running through our crazy schedule before we could really sit down and talk. Then she hit me with the fact that I cannot dispute, I eat all the leftovers, and she deals with all the leftovers. She was right that she literally gets whatever is left from me at the end of every day. Hearing her say this hurt and knowing she was right hurt even more.
As we prepare to move to the next stage of our life together I realize Andrea needs to come first for my time, attention, and energy. All our dreams and goals can be accomplished together, but together cannot be taken for granted. Living on leftovers won’t sustain the relationship we want with each other!