Me: Why do you have to be at the academy tonight?
Me: Take a picture!!!
Him: It’s not a police uniform.
Him: I’m just saying! There will be no badge of any sort!
He sent a picture later. There it was, the moment that was making it all very real for me. Across the front of a t-shirt with police information was his name. A name, not a number.
I immediately choked back tears.
There are many moments for parents where we wonder who our children will be one day. Will they be good? Will they make the right choices? Will the cycle you’ve lived in be broken with your children? And then you breathe a little because you realize it’s happening, all the good things you wanted for them.
I never dreamed of a specific career or path in life for my children. I have always wanted them to be safe and happy. I believe in following your bliss and who you are. I believe that dreams can come true.
When my son set his sights on being a police officer, I stood behind him. I knew his idea might change, as it had in the past, but I supported it all the same. And a tiny (OK, BIG!) part of me held onto this police thing happening even more because I loved the juxtaposition of it. With a past of police being a bad thing, I wanted it to change. More than anything, I was holding onto the belief that a past of jail and prison experiences could be changed by a future of serve and protect.
I am filled with great pride that my son will be a police officer, that he has a heart to want to help. No matter how society as a whole views police officers, the fact is, most go into this field the same reason men and women join the military, the same reason we have firefighters, the same reason we have social workers and activists and nonprofits and preachers and youth ministers and homeless shelters — to make a difference, to help make the world a little bit better.
So today, while so much of the rest of country is dressing up and playing pretend, my own child is stepping into his new reality. We are on the first day of this part of the journey, with a long 6 months ahead of us, but I am confident in him and his ability to do this, and I am thankful for this and every moment to follow.