On Saturday, there was a family orientation for the police recruits. I was able to meet other recruits, families (another wife and I commiserated about the stinky, nasty laundry that comes our way multiple days a week), and the instructors. Yes, I shook hands with the men who’ve been making my husband miserable over the past few weeks.
They seemed perfectly nice to me (then again, they hadn’t been screaming in my face all week either). They all smiled kindly and said “nice to meet you.” This was disconcerting to JD; he wasn’t sure how to act around the relaxed versions of his instructors. Despite the calm atmosphere, he was very much on edge, afraid he was going to do something he would get punished for on Monday.
For example, there was cake, but most of the recruits didn’t take a piece, in case the instructors were taking notes on who would be doing extra pushups to burn off that cake on Monday. I felt kind of guilty savoring my very large, heavily frosted piece in front of the recruits, but I was starving, and SOMEBODY had to eat it. (FYI, it was delicious and worth every calorie.)
And then there were the chairs. The recruits had spent Friday evening setting up chairs for the event, then spent most of Saturday morning debating whether they were supposed to put those same chairs away or not. After much deliberation amongst them, one of the squad leaders finally got confirmation from an instructor that the chairs could wait till Monday. (JD wasn’t completely convinced, thinking maybe it was a trick, but it all turned out okay.)
The main message that the chief and instructors were trying to get across was, “We’re not trying to be mean or humiliate. All we’re trying to do is prepare them for situations that may seem impossible. You are their support system. They will come home complaining. Listen and empathize, but send them right back to us the next day.”
I think I can handle that.