While I like to joke about them, I love my kids, of course.
I’m their dad.
I suck at showing it all the time.
I don’t say I love you enough, I’m sure. I do try to say it everyday, but it never seems like enough.
I often go to bed after not seeing my kids at all during the day because of work. I miss them on those days and I sometimes find myself wondering if I’m doing enough to make sure they know how I feel about them.
The boys are small enough that they probably could care less at this point, but Ace is a big girl and soon she’ll have big girl issues. I want her to be able to come to me with those issues knowing that I’ll do my best to help her and love her in spite of whatever is going on.
My love for the kids is unconditional.
Do you know how I know that I love my kids?
I would die for any of them.
I’m their dad.
I would literally drop dead on the spot to give any of my three kids even just 10 more seconds of life.
I’d take the bullet for any of them or my wife. It’s not debatable. There’d be no pro versus con list to consider. I know this because I’ve thought about it before. Is that morbid? I don’t think it is. I get to thinking sometimes when I’m at work all alone at night. A man alone with his thoughts gets to thinking about the ones he loves and misses, it’s just how it is with a brain, I guess. Morbid or not, and for whatever reason, I’ve thought about whether or not I’d die for my kids and the final decision is always the same.
If the only choice is death and the grim reaper isn’t going to leave without somebody’s soul, I’d offer mine up in a heartbeat.
One of my favorite quotes comes from the Bible, John 15:13, to be precise:
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.”
I don’t regularly read the Bible. I don’t even read it sometimes, really. The only Bible I’m aware of in my family’s possession belongs to my parents, and, I’m not lying, was last seen under the leg of their pinball machine to keep it from wobbling.
I’m honestly only familiar with the above quote because it’s prominently used in many Backstopper advertisements. The Backstoppers is an incredible organization here in St. Louis that provides assistance to families who’ve lost a loved one while that person was working as a first responder. They’ve paid for homes, tuition and other necessities for way too many police officers’ families just in the near 15 years I’ve worked in this city.
I know when I put on my uniform that there’s a chance I could be killed at the next car stop or domestic dispute I show up to. It is what it is. I don’t give it much thought and I doubt that others do either. It’s just something that’s a part of the job I love and it’s why we make so much money.
I hope this doesn’t come out the wrong way, but I wouldn’t choose to die for any of the citizens I serve beyond the four people who live under the same roof as me.
That’s not what you want to hear from your police officers, is it?
I hope this makes sense.
I will do my best to help protect anybody.
Where there is chaos, I’ll head that way.
I will race towards the gunfire.
I will run into a burning house to save your loved one, even your dog, as long as I believe there’s a chance that I’ll make it out alive.
I’d jump into a raging river to save you because I think I’m an ok swimmer.
But, if my own death was guaranteed by doing something to help you?
Sorry, but if you’re not Wife, Ace, Cool or G$, I won’t do it.
I won’t choose to die for you.
I will choose to do things that might cause me to die for you, yes. 100 times over I’ll run to help you when I’m able.
Does the distinction make sense?
I hope it does and that you understand.
Whose life is worth more than mine outside of those four people?
I have three kids.
I’m their dad.
I’m needed by those little people I’ve brought into this world.
I have a daughter, Ace.
I taught her to ride a bike and tie her shoes. She still has much to learn.
She will need to know why boys can be such jerks and have somebody to walk her down the aisle when she finds the one who isn’t.
She’ll need to know what boys are thinking and how to drive a manual transmission.
She’s going to need to know how to defend and stand up for herself when the going gets tough.
I’ll teach her those things and more. I’ll be there to listen and share what I know about life and what she can expect based on my own experiences.
I’ll be there with hugs and kisses when the bruises and scrapes are on her little heart instead of her knees. I will tell her that I understand how she feels because I remember how it feels to be a teenager. I know what it’s like to lose a friend or fail a test. It’s not the end of the world, but to her it will seem like it is. It was a long time ago, yes, but I remember my first “love” too and how it hurt when she left me.
I’m their dad.
Life can be hard, so having a dad is a real bonus. Moms are great for sure, but dads can be great too.
I have two boys who are small right now.
I’m their jungle gym and short order cook.
They need their dad perhaps even more than Ace does.
They will need to be taught how to shave their faces and tie those neck ties. Against the grain is ok in my book, in spite of what Sergeant Murtaug said to the contrary.
They need to be taught to hold doors open for strangers and how to throw a curve ball. Hitting a lady is never an option, no matter how angry you get, and you will get angry at a lady at some point in your life. They will never be able to start a sentence “I remember that time dad hit mom…”
I will lead by example but point out to them that I’m not perfect. Where my example sucks I will explain how I wish I’d have done better and give them the tools and know how to succeed where I’ve failed.
They’ll need to know that they’ll have to work hard and pay for dates and gas and their own car insurance.
They’ll all need reassurance when they think that they’re ugly or dumb or will never be good at anything.
I’m their dad.
I’ve been there. I was ugly and dumb and wasn’t ever going to be good at anything. I’ve had terrible acne and been cut from teams. I’ve gotten F’s and been fired from jobs. I’ve also made the team and won championships. I’ve made the Dean’s List and been employee of the month.
Life is like that. Sometimes you’re the fly and sometimes you’re the fly swatter.
You win some and you lose some. I will teach them that. That’s what makes life so exciting.
They will all grow up with manners and respect for others.
They will be taught to respect themselves and to always be proud of what they do. They will know that I love them and will do so whether they are neurosurgeons or fast food employees.
If collecting trash becomes their job, they will do it to the best of their abilities. They’ll go out of their way to pick up a wayward napkin or milk jug that was left on top of the can instead of just leaving it, because that’s going above and beyond what a trash man should have to do. They will know that I’m proud of them for being such great trash collectors.
They will all be taught to be sure of themselves. They’re lucky to be beautiful; all three of them are. Life is easier when you’re beautiful so I will always remind them that they are.
They’ll grow to root for the Cardinals and to support the underdog. They will never be bullies and will go out of their way to help those who are oppressed. They’ll stand up for others but never lose their sense of humor. They’ll be sharp witted and funny and be able to take a joke.
They’ll probably be sore losers, but I’ll teach them that we can’t win ’em all. They’ll be gracious in victory and be able to hold their booze at the celebration.
They’ll never lack in confidence and will try things that are difficult.
Gay or straight, rich or poor, it won’t matter.
I’m their dad. They’ll know I’ll always have their backs and try to make them happy in life, even it means having a knife shoved into my own.