Police lives matter too. I just want to begin with that. I am the daughter of a police officer. Now retired, but STILL works in the field of law enforcement. Approaching his mid 60’s, my father still serves and protects, even though it may not be as a police officer anymore. I respect that, and I always will. Most people do not understand what all that means to me, a child of a law enforcement officer, and how it affects me and my life.
I remember beating on his chest as he left for work, making sure he had on his vest. I remember what his riot gear looked like. I remember him dropping his sandwich and rushing out of the house because he got a call. I remember him working late and coming home in the middle of the night just to have to leave in a few hours. I remember his gun. I remember his belt. I remember his car and how he would hit the siren button to make us kids laugh when he left or returned from work and we were outside playing. To me, it was all part of what made him just my dad.
I have some recollection of being told daddy’s job was dangerous and he could get hurt. As I got older, I understood just how dangerous his job really was, and that any day he left for work, he was risking never coming home to us, because of the bad people. I remember getting that tinge in my throat and holding back tears when I would think about the “what if” of his job. I spent and still spend my days worrying about him, and what could happen. Because to me, he is just my dad.
I remember him working holidays, even Christmas, and coming home to barely get any sleep so he could get up and spend what time he had of the holiday with us. I remember he would work what was called a “detail” which was basically a security position at an outside company, being gone all night and keeping myself up to get into that chocolate cake he brought home for us before morning. All because he loves his family and was just being my dad.
I remember one day in middle school…I got off the school bus down the street and walked home as usual. When I got home, my mom and dad were sitting outside on the patio and I KNEW he was not normally home. I KNEW something was wrong. He stopped me and said we needed to talk. He told me he was home because there was a shooting and he was involved. I remember feeling lost. In another world. Not hearing anything else. Bascally, I was in shock. I dealt with it like a grown up, moved on quickly and tried to ignore it. I wanted nothing to change, I wanted him to stay just MY dad.
That didn’t work, because a few weeks later I got off the school bus as usual and began to walk home with the other kids in my neighborhood when we heard a loud noise. No idea what it was, but a couple of the kids teased and said “OH NO, WAS THAT YOUR DAD SHOOTING SOMEONE AGAIN” or something to that effect. They laughed and thought it was just hilarious. Suddenly to so many of my “friends” he was no longer just my dad. It may not sound like much, but the burden I was already carrying was more than enough, then to have these kids tease me? I wouldn’t wish that feeling on my worst enemy.
Police lives matter too, and the chaos that now surrounds them affects their families more than you can imagine. It affects their children and their spouses. Please, don’t feed the fire, please don’t assume you know the answers or the details. Let the system do what it was designed to do. Teach your children to do the same. If you do not like it, become it and make a change.
Brandy – The Not-So-Single Mom
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