This is a post I have been meaning to write for a while now, with corresponding photos and inspirational words, but saddened with the recent news of yet another fallen officer, I have decided to just write what I feel. Right now, no dog and pony show, just how I feel.
As some of you may know, I come from a LONG line of police officers. My grandpa, uncles, cousins, and three out of my four wonderful parents put their lives on the line every single day. For each and every one of us. I would like to say that it was easy, but who am I kidding growing up isn't easy for anyone, let alone anyone with three officers as parents. And me being the oldest, pshh yeah right. Everyday I would say my prayers, for them, for those they were protecting, and for those they were arresting. And everyday I wondered what it would be like to have "normal" parents. Ones who didn't run my license, or everyone I hung out with for that matter. Ones who didn't question every move I made and knew when I wasn't doing what I should be doing. Ones who didn't take me on ride-alongs, where I cried because I wanted to go back to my small, quiet town. Ones who tried to unsee everything they had seen in their day to day work when raising me, but just couldn't. Ones who let me make my own mistakes, while of course reminding me of the awful things they encounter. Ones who woke up everyday and put that badge on.
Life wasn't easy I will tell you that, but I wouldn't change it. It shaped me...
My mom was the first to retire after 20 years with the Tempe Police Department and truth be told I let out a sigh of relief. I am a worrier by nature and at 14 it was one less thing I had to worry about. I was so proud and yet selfishly so happy she wouldn't have to go back to the station, back out on the streets. I can recall ride alongs and take your kid to work days. I can remember her working late at night while I slept at the baby sitter's. Growing up she wanted to move to Arizona and be a cop and that's just what she did. To this day, I still boast about the fact that she's a retired officer. To this day she also reminds me that no matter how big I am she can take me down.
My dad stayed on the force for many more years after she did, and he did everything. Or at least he did in my eyes and that my friends (well those of you still reading) is where all my worrying went... You may recall that I have 4 parents, so there must have been a divorce right? Right. My parents divorced when I was five and went their own separate ways. So the natural worrier that I am, had way too many questions. What happened if something was wrong? Would they know about me? Would they call me? I didn't live with him, would they think about me?? Who was "they" anyways? I would find myself glued to the tv or radio if there was an officer involved incident. The non-worrying (is that even a word?) part of me, knew that my step mom the third officer of my family would make sure that I knew, but like I said I am a worrier. This past year my dad retired after many years with the Phoenix Police Department and thankfully my worries were just that, worries.
My step mom, who we lovingly call our evil, wicked step mom, just retired also and honestly, selfishly I couldn't be happier. I would once again wonder to myself if somebody would call me if something was wrong in the years leading to her retirement. In these troubling times, its a even scarier world out there. And all I do is pray.
When I heard the news that heaven gained another angel in blue, I cried. I cried for my parents, who are part of a close knit brother and sisterhood that I will never fully understand. I cried for the fallen officer's family. I cried when my daughter said her prayers that night.
"Now I lay me down to sleep;
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
If I should die before I wake;
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
And God bless the soldiers, the police officers, and the firefighters."
She will never know what its like to grow up with parents that are cops, but what she does know is that she's got some pretty awesome grandparents and a eerie fascination with the men and women in blue.
What I know is I am a cop's daughter for the rest of my life. Make that three cops' daughter. And what else I know is I am part of that blue family through and through. I will shed tears with them. Jump for joy with them. And pray with them.