Being A Cop's Daughter

Being A Cop's Daughter

He taught me how to walk, he taught me to kick men in the nuts when they get too frisky.

When I was born I was blessed enough to have two parents who were happily married, and a brother. My parents both chose careers they loved, my mom chose banking and my Dad chose law enforcement.

Growing up, my Dad had to work crazy shifts. It wasn’t uncommon for me to not be able to see him for three days. But just because I didn’t see him, didn’t mean that I didn’t talk to him. I remember when I was in elementary school, I called my Dad when I got home from school to tell him about my day. I also remember the most exciting feeling when he was able to eat dinner with us. Most of all, I remember the nights he would peak in my room when he came home from a late shift to check on me. A lot of people look at law enforcement as the enemy, and think all cops are bad, but I don’t think that. A lot of people don’t get to see the people outside of the uniforms. They don’t get to see how they laugh at their daughters jokes, or how they support their son in every single sport he plays, or the way they try to plan the best anniversary for their spouse. People see them in their uniforms, and forget that outside of their uniforms, they have families. When people see my dad in his uniform, they just see a cop. What they don’t see, is the most amazing, caring, selfless, funniest, humble, genuine, compassionate and supportive human being. He is simply a cop to them, they don’t understand that he is the best dad in the entire world.

My father has been in law enforcement before I was born. In elementary school, my peers thought it was totally awesome what my dad did. In those days, I didn’t mind being chauffeured around in that good ole trooper car. It was like I was rolling to school in a limo. When I got to middle school, I was completely out of my element. It was a new school with people I didn’t know, and I just wanted to fit in. In middle school, cops weren’t cool. So I didn’t say a peep unless people asked what my parents did. Which, rarely happened because in middle school the only person people care about is themselves, not what their friend’s parents do. By the time I got to high school, I didn’t really care what people thought of me. I already had my group of friends and no longer felt the need to fit in. If people didn’t like me because my father was in law enforcement I though that it was their problem and not mine. If they were that shallow then they didn’t deserve to be in my life. Here’s what is crazy though, even though I went through numerous phases of how much I cared what other people thought of me because of what my dad did, it never changed my opinion of him. I never ever wished that he didn’t do what he did. I never once thought, “I wish my dad worked in an office”. Even if he weren’t home for dinner, I never wished he were home with us because I knew he was not only doing what he loved, but he was doing his best to make the world I was living in, a better place. Which to me, is the best thing a Dad can ever do.

When I tell people what my father does, I always get a series of questions. The most common question is always, “has he ever shot anyone?” Next it’s, “does he have any cool stories that he’s ever told you?” My answer to them is always, “I don’t know”. Then they look at me as if I have ten heads, and then I say, “when my dad is home, he’s not a cop, he’s my dad.” My dad has always somehow miraculously been able to keep up with me and my brother’s life no matter what. My best friend since 3rd grade was always bummed out because her parents rarely ever attended any of her events. They both worked 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. jobs. But with my Dad, I never had to worry about it. Even when I didn’t expect him to come to my games, he still did. I remember my freshman year of high school, I was on the JV cheer squad, then later got moved up to varsity. When I told him when I was cheering for my first varsity game he told me he had to work. I didn’t mind that he had to work because the night shifts were normal for him. As I cheered that night, we went on the court to cheer in between quarters, and there he was in uniform, watching me cheer. He didn’t stay the entire game, but it didn’t matter. He left wherever he was, to watch me cheer for a couple of minutes, before going back to work. The word, “supportive” is an absolute understatement when it comes to describing my dad. There have been so many incidents where he will go out of his way to catch a glimpse of what I think is important or do whatever he can to help me with whatever it is.

When it comes to dating, which I'm not very good at. I had a couple of high school boyfriends, but they were never serious. The cop within my father had something to do with my outlook on dating. I'm sure my dad had witnessed many domestic disputes, and always showed me how a woman deserves to be treated. My dad taught me how a woman should be respected. He didn't just tell me these things though, he showed me. I am 19 years old, and I have never seen my parents yell at each other. I have never seen my father raise a hand at my mother. I've also never seen them swear at each other. My Dad taught me how I should be treated by treating my mom that way. He bought my mom flowers countless times, just because he felt like it. He always opened doors for her, and even went as far as opening her car door. My Dad has shown me what a man should be like, and has taught me that I deserve nothing less of that. He taught me that I should never settle. A father is so important to a daughter. It effects the way she handles men for the rest of her life. I can honestly say, that my dad nailed it. Now I'm not the perfect daughter, but he's definitely the perfect dad.

My Dad is so compassionate, caring, and humble that he has on many occasions invited various family members into our home and treated them as if they were his kids. For instance, when I was in the fourth grade, my Dad allowed one of his old friend's daughter to live with us after she had trouble with roommates in college. She became a part of our family so much so that we started including her in our annual family photos. I was able to call her my sister because that's exactly what she felt like. He never once asked her to move out, help out with bills, or anything. He treated her as if she were his, and that is a quality that a lot of people don't have. She's not the first one to come and be apart of our family, and I honestly don't believe that she will be the last. My dad is determined to make the world a better place regardless if he's wearing his uniform. Not only does he make the world better, he has helped raised me along with my equally amazing mother to become a better person everyday.

As police brutality has gotten worse, I worry about my Dad. People are so angry at all cops and want to believe they are all bad, but that just isn’t the case. Just like in anything, there are good people and bad people. It is easy to assume that all police target specific people. It is easy to assume that all police are out to hurt people. It is easy to want to take out all cops, to hate all cops. But what’s easy isn’t always right. There are good people and bad people in this world. It’s easier to assume that all people are bad, but it isn’t true. It is easier to overlook the millions of good things, if one bad thing happens. When you see a cop, don’t assume that they are out to hurt you. Don’t assume that they don’t care about anything. Instead think about their life outside of the uniform. Think of the reason why they are in the uniform. Instead of assuming they are in the uniform to abuse their authority, hope they are doing it to make the world a better place. Hope they are making the world better for their kids, or their spouse. Hope they are doing it for the same reason my dad did it. Hope.

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10 Times My Parents Were Undeniably Right, And They'll Never Let Me Forget it.

Sometimes, you just need to hear from the people that love you most, and actually listen.

Parents. You love them, but you despise when they're right. Your whole life is filled with "I told you" and "because I said so." When you're young, you don't think they could always be right. Well, these are ten times my parents actually were right.

1. When they said someone wasn't really my friend.

I've had so many friendships come and go throughout my life. I remember distinctly the one time I realized my parents were right. In middle school I had plenty of friends, if that's what you could call them. One Friday night at our local skating rink, my dad overheard some of my "friends" call me fat, wondering why I even bothered to show up. As soon as I got out of the bathroom, my dad made me leave. He said, "Karly, those girls aren't your friends." I didn't understand yet what he meant, but I sure would later.

2. When they told me working hard was the most important thing I could do.

I may not be the smartest, but I work hard. Hard work is what has gotten me to where I am today. My parents supported me, and taught me the value of hard work. Throughout the years, this has molded me into the student, employee, and person I am today. There is nothing that can stop me, as long as I don't stop working.

3. When they told me I couldn't depend on anyone.

My mother taught me from a young age that I couldn't depend on anyone. My mom told me, "If anything happened to your father, I could support you and me, and that's all that matters." Regardless of what anyone says, I don't need anybody. I am the only person that I can depend on, and I need to do everything I can to protect myself.

4. When they told me I was beautiful.

For years, I really didn't believe this was true. My famous response was "You have to say that because I'm your daughter." The truth is, I am beautiful. Every single one of us is beautiful. You are beautiful inside, and out, and my parents just happened to be the only people that saw it all the time. They taught me that no matter what anyone says, you are beautiful.

5. They made me make my bed every day.

My parents made me make my bed every morning, because once you feel as if you've accomplished something, your attitude for the day changes. Now, I make my bed every morning, which puts me in the mindset to get my day started. Once I've accomplished one thing, I'm ready to tackle the day. Plus, I have a nice bed to hop into at the end of a hard day.

6. When they told me that I was loved.

As a college student, it's so easy to get overwhelmed to the point to shutting down. It's easy to feel alone, to think that no one cares. However, my parents always told me that I was loved. When I cry for half an hour straight over FaceTime, I know my parents still love me. When nothing feels like it's going right, I know that I am loved and that someone, somewhere is supporting me.

7. They said I was going to be their baby forever.

Yes, I am 20. Yes, I am an adult. But, I will be my mother's baby until the day I die. Whenever I'm sick, I want my mom to take care of me. When my entire world is falling apart, I want my mom to put it back together. No matter what happens, I seek my mother for guidance on how to handle any situation, and how to be okay afterwords.

8. When they said they had my best interest in heart.

Every time your parents try and tell you something you don't want to hear, they have to remind you that they have your best interest in heart. Every time they've told me that something wasn't right or that I was doing something wrong, it was because they wanted me to be a better version of myself. Parents care, even when it doesn't seem like it.

9. When they told me I could do anything I set my mind to.

Being a poor, young woman, there are plenty of people around to tell you that you can't or won't accomplish something. My parents were right in teaching me that it's okay for me to be bold, and to go after whatever I want. Once I set my mind to something, it has taught me to do anything I can to get what I want.

10. I deserve the world.

It took years to understand what this meant. After a few bad boyfriends and mediocre friendships, I finally heard my parents words. I deserve the world. I deserve to have the opportunity to fight for what I want. I deserve to be treated right. I deserve to be loved. I deserve to be admired. I deserve to have the chance to change the world.

I don't know what I will accomplish, and I don't know how I will accomplish it. All I know is that sometimes, parents are right. Sometimes, you just need to hear from the people that love you most, and actually listen.

Cover Image Credit: Karly Taylor

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Why Didn't She Leave?

All voices need to be heard.

One of our writers recently reached out to me and asked that I post this article on their behalf. While powerfully written and relevant, the piece is also incredibly personal and potentially painful to those the author loves. This is what makes sharing the article all the more important; all voices need to be heard. Just as this author has bravely given a voice to the silent, I am proud to share this piece for them.

It is articles like this that remind me of why I decided to write for Odyssey, and why I continue my work for the Emory Community. I hope this article resonates with you all just as it has with me.

I grew up watching my dad beat my mom. There is no question that angers me more and digs more deep than “why didn’t she just leave?” when discussing survivors of domestic violence. It’s understandable that people ask. I used to and felt some resentment about it. But the question “why didn’t she just leave” is something that has given me a lot to think about.

Women in situations of domestic violence can never “just leave.” It’s not that simple. A woman is more at risk of being murdered by when she leaves an abusive relationship than at any other time, and it’s not like some women don’t try.

In my case, I used to wish my mom just left and that my parents would have just separated. I wished that the one time we called the police, he would just go to jail and that would be that. I live my life now trying to be everything he wasn’t, trying to avoid the same modes of aggression and violence that he once was responsible for. I make mistakes. I know that. I just never, ever want to make his mistakes.

But then I realized life doesn’t work that way, and that my mom could have been killed if she left. A survivor of domestic violence is 70 times more likely to be murdered after leaving a relationship. If she took me and my siblings and left, I know my dad would have been angry beyond bounds, and just imagining what he would have done hurts. And I think she knew that. I never was thankful for the fact that although my mom was beaten, bruised, and abused verbally and emotionally, I at least had her around and she was alive. An imperfect and brutal situation was better than none at all.

We moved houses 10 times when I was a kid. The last thing she wanted was for us to move again, because she saw how hurt we were every time we had to clean the slate, move to a new school and make new friends. I see that now, and eventually I see how she handled the tough situation she was in with an incredible amount of grace. She worked the night shift at work so they wouldn’t be together. She slept in a different room, sometimes ours, when things were especially bad.

It hurts when I see happy families eat dinner together, every night of the week. On one level, I wish I had that. On another, I’m glad we didn’t, because I don’t know what would have happened.

She didn’t leave after all those years because she was tough, strong, and fierce. She didn’t leave because despite his cruelty, she still loved him and always gave him the benefit of the doubt, no matter what he did. Despite the monster he was, he was still our father, and a decent one at that, who, despite his flaws, kept food on the table and a roof above our heads. And because she was so fierce, she would never say she was abused, and never use that word to describe the situation, and above all, never admit that sometimes, she was powerless. It’s on me to respect that wish, because that was the way she coped with and handled things.

I just wish she knew that my siblings and I weren’t as fierce, that what happened in that house would mess us up for life. I wish she knew that everything happened had an effect. But I make sure, every time I see her, that she knows that because of her guiding force, now I’m fierce. She doesn’t want me to talk about it to other people, but I can’t just keep a band-aid over it. The healing path of Jesus Christ demands that I make my peace over it.

I wish she knew that the one time we called the police, we thought he was going to kill her, or else we wouldn’t have called 911. But she didn’t leave for us. At the end of the day, it was always for us. We are thoughtful beyond bounds because of her example. We learned what it truly was to persevere through adversity, and as a part of that, I want to put her story, and our story out there.

‘I was able to end my own crazy love story by breaking the silence. I'm still breaking the silence today,” Leslie Morgan Steiner, a survivor of domestic violence said. “It's my way of helping other victims, and it's my final request of you. Talk about what you heard here. Abuse thrives only in silence.’

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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