Yes, it's about that time again: Valentine's Day is five days away (as this is typed) and I can see that many of you have given it little thought. The reasons (excuses) for giving it "little thought" run the spectrum from, "I'm working a double that day so the day is shot anyway," to "I've been married 31 years and it's just another day after this long together." If either of those apply to you, or if your excuse is anywhere in the middle, pull your head OUT of your rectal cavity and pay attention.
Our job is not easy on those who love us. When you're a cop and you're dating it's not as bad for them. After all, when you're "just dating" they don't tend to notice the time you're at work as much. You're at work, they're at work, you see each other when you make a date. The longer you date the more aware they become of the irregular hours, rotating shifts, etc. If they accept all that and the relationship becomes serious you might get engaged or you might try living together. Either way, they will spend more time thinking about your occupation and, inevitably, the risks.
When someone is considering becoming a cop's spouse they can't help but think about the quirks and risks of the job. Late shift arrests become mandatory overtime and late returns home. Holidays and special events all of a sudden are things that can take you away from the family instead of being exciting times you spend with the family. And if you're actually living together then you have to deal with the curse of doing anything but daywork. If you're working evenings or midnights then your significant other, whether you're married or not, is sitting around with a lot of free time and, often times, thinking about what you might be doing. That's awfully hard on the significant other - and it's something we cops all too often easily forget about.
When we work overtime thanks to that late arrest it also means extra time at home for people to worry or be inconvenienced. The only thing that "requires" them to stay there is their love for us. Keep that in mind as you think about Valentine's Day.
I don't care if you're working a double shift. I don't care if you've been married a bazillion years and your spouse doesn't EXPECT anything. DO SOMETHING ANYWAY.
If you're working a double make sure some flowers and a card get delivered. If you've been married that long and your spouse doesn't expect anything, surprise the heck out of them by making an event of the day. If you're working the evening shift and it prevents you from a nice Valentine's Day dinner, have a nice Valentine's Day breakfast or lunch instead. If you're working midnights (this is especially cool if you're coming home Valentine's Day morning) bring your spouse home unexpected gifts AND have some flowers delivered.
The point is to go out of your way to make Valentine's Day matter for your significant other. Use it as an opportunity to let them know that you appreciate their love and the fact that they stand by you and your sometimes inconvenient job. After all, if you take them and what they do for granted, do you really expect that they'll stick around and keep doing it?
Stay safe. Go home to your significant other EVERY day. But on Valentine's Day make sure they know how happy you are that you're coming home to them.