The Few, The Proud

While I did not write this story, I really could have. It describes my growing up perfectly—from encouraging notes left when we woke up in the morning to learning how to spot a drug addict from a moving vehicle. Dad, you have always been a great example of a father and Christian. You continue to be my hero! I love you! –Sami

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The Few, The Proud
By Rachel Hart.

I am not a police officer. I am one of the few, the proud. I am the kid of a cop. You can recognize us by the occasional bruise on our foreheads, shaped like the butt of a 9mm, from running to hug dad from the wrong side. Or from our uniformity in walking on our parent’s left side, so as to keep his gun hand free. I can pick out the most tactically advantageous table in any restaurant within 5 seconds, and leave the seat with the back to the wall for my father – so he can see all activity in the area. I grew up tormented on Christmas mornings, either waiting for dad to get off of his graveyard shift so we could open presents, or getting up at 4:00am so we could get them all done before he had to leave for his day shift. I could shoot any weapon you handed me by the time I was twelve. Most of the stories I heard as a kid started with “Now what occurred was, I got a call…” My teenage years were spent calculating how many days it would be until our schedules would let us see each other again. My friends know to stop mid-sentence when word of an officer involved shooting comes across the TV or radio. My heart freezes, waiting to hear which department and city, as I desperately try to remember what shift my dad is on, or if this is his day off. Every day I kissed my dad goodbye before work, knowing that it could be the last time I might see him. All that is normal, everyday life for the kid of a cop. I know that it must be hard to be a police officer and a parent. But I know from experience that being a police officer does not mean that your kids have to grow up pining for a “normal” parent, feeling neglected and unloved. I know from the kid side.

My father found time, no matter how hard. True, we were not the Cleavers. But my dad always made sure that I felt so loved that I could burst. In elementary school, if he worked swings, he would pick me up for lunch two or three times a week so he could hear my stories and see my schoolwork. We would go on father-daughter weekend retreats that I would wildly anticipate for months. In junior high and high school, he would get me out of bed early and take me to breakfast before school to keep up with my life. Do you have any idea how much energy it takes to get a teenage girl out of bed early on a school day? That is a staggering display of perseverance, dedication, and love. My daddy would write little notes and leave them on my dresser for me to wake up to. Ones like “Thank you for still being a virgin.” or “I’m proud of who you are.” or “Make sure you check under the car at night before you get in. ” When I went away to college, I would run to the mailboxes everyday because my dad would send me little letters with not much in them besides “I love you, I’m proud of you, I’m praying for you and that the Lord will give you a non-hairy husband.” And a dollar or two would be in the envelope so I could buy myself a candy bar and a coke. Every time. I always knew that if I needed my dad, he would be there in a second. Any play or game I was in that was important to me, I knew he would move the world to be there. And if he couldn’t, I knew that he was more disappointed than I was.

In everything he did, he showed me the importance of a relationship with the Lord. He would drag himself to church on Sunday, even if he just worked graves, because it was important to him to be there. I would wake up in the middle of the night and see him reading his Bible at the table after he got home from swings. He prayed for me, and I knew it.

Please parents, kiss, hug, and pray for your children when you come home. There is nothing like waking up with your dad’s huge hand on your back and his soft voice praying for you. I promise that if you try and find ways around the crazy shifts you work to love us, counsel us, and teach us, we will grow up all right. It’s not impossible. Just ask my daddy.

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