When I was a teenager I wanted to be a police officer. My best friends father was a captain on the police department. A great and honest man. He supported me in my wish to be a Constable On Patrol. I went to college, became a Police Aide, and eventually a police officer. While I was in the academy my dad challenged me in the yard one day to arrest him. He simply wanted me to show him I could control him well enough to get cuffs on him. After about a fifteen minute wrestling match we were at a dead heat and agreed to call off the challenge. Whether he was trying to or not he taught me a good lesson. I needed to pay close to attention to those I arrested. He was not going to hurt me during our challenge. He is a blue-collar man who had been in dozens of fist fights and has worked with his hands forever. Our wrestling match stuck in my mind and between that and John Waring’s teachings I was lucky enough to stay safe during my years on the Virginia Beach Police Department.
I had reached my life’s apex as far as goals were concerned when I was a police officer. One summer day I had a call for an unruly teenager at a detention home. As I pulled up to the school I saw the girl causing the issue. When she saw me she ran. I took on the foot chase with her. We ran almost a half mile before she gave up and “let” me catch her. I spent several hours with that teen that night as we processed the paperwork that would get her to her next detention center. She was a nice kid she was just confused. She had been in and out of the system for a couple of years. I asked her why she gave her single dad so little respect and she said she loved him very much but he did not understand her. She also said she was not trying to hurt him. I got her placed in her next home and nearly a decade later my parents got a letter in the mail. It was a package of letters that the girl sent to their address. My name is the same as my Dad’s and they are listed in the white pages. The letters were heartbreaking. These letters were the epilogue from my meeting with her. She told me she had found a good man who saved her live when she tried to end her life with a gun. He got to her and the gun but she still pulled the trigger, paralyzing herself. This was her moment of clarity. She straightened her life up and her dad visited her at her hospital bed. He had been run through the ringer for years by her but at that moment he put it all aside and her held hand. They patched up their differences and no explanations were needed. The father knows when to let the battle end and does not need a clean-cut tie in to end the conflict.
I left the police department and shortly afterwards I married my present wife and after years of fighting infertility we had our beautiful daughter Emma. I quickly realized that being a father myself was the apex of my life’s goals. From the moment I held her she became the drug I would never lose an addiction for. I am the father that tells you about his little girl whether you want to hear about her or not. He littlest victories are my biggest accomplishments. I want to give her the world and all its experiences. I want her to be smart, brave, confident, and beautiful but I cannot give her those things. She is these things in my eyes but to prove that to the world is solely her responsibility. I am the bystander to her life that for now gives her all her advice. Soon, very soon, she will not want the advice. I can only hope what I gave her before sticks and more importantly I hopefully gave her the right advice. They say that kids hit a point where they want no advice but they eventually get past that point and feel the need to lean on you again. If this rings true I will always be in the dugout waiting to close out for her. I will never waiver from being her biggest supporter (along with her Mommy). Being a father is the greatest honor I have ever held. In the words of Prince:
“I’m not ahuman
I am a dove
I’m your conscious
I am love
All I really need 2 know that
Yeah, I would die 4 u, yeah
Darling if you want me 2
U- I would die for you”
If you are a father and you do not want to see every moment of the movie that is your child’s life you are missing out on something that cannot be regained. Being a dad is an honor. Most any man can have a kid but it is a job to be a good dad. If you take it for granted you are a fool. It is the best job I have ever had. I will not give it up and I will always respect it for the honor it is. Happy Fathers Day to the daddies, the daddies daddies, and the men stepping in for daddies!!!