*** Disclaimer: I am writing from personal experience. This is not a political piece. I did not write this piece as a “ Blue Lives Matter” promo. I wrote this so some people can have a little insight into what it's like growing up with your dad as your hero. I hope that people will read this and think twice about their next interaction with a cop or their family.

First responders don’t choose the job for fame or fortune. Sometimes saying thank you, or praying over them goes a long way. Most police officers are just doing their job praying they make it home safely at the end of their shift. They go through enough, let's try to make their days easier. And as for their families, the stress they feel may be more than you know, Be kind. ***

I will always “back the blue.” Not because I was told to, but because of my personal experiences. Growing up a cop’s daughter affected my life in more ways than I realized. I never thought about the reasons behind why we learned or did certain things as a child, but I do now. While some things I experienced may have been unconventional and not ideal, I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything and I am PROUD to be a cop’s daughter.

Being absent:

I don’t remember very specific details from my childhood, but I do remember nights where my dad would leave in the middle of the night because there was another shooting. As his departments changed those middle of the night calls weren't as frequent.

I am very thankful that he didn’t miss holidays and big events (that I remember). There are many cops who do not have the privilege of being home with their families for special moments.

Safety:

Want to see home security? Go to a Texan cops' home. We were taught if someone is breaking in, call 911, get the gun out of the top of the closet, load it and if they hurt you protect yourself. You’d think my dad has a form of OCD with how many times a night he checks to make sure the doors are locked. We even have a new security system that beeps anytime a door is opened (thanks to our fellow cop family friends for that one). My favorite security/safety activity we had when I was little was learning how to kick out the windows in case of a fire. And I could probably teach a gun safety course by now.

What about a curfew? The famous line is “nothing good happens after midnight.” The time a fellow cops daughter and I broke that rule I thought we’d never see the light of day again. Don’t worry we were fine, but the hog we hit wasn’t. Oops.

My parents sent me to college with pepper spray, a small alarm to put on the door, and my mom keeps telling me to buy a bat (in case I need to pull out my whack-a-mole skills on an intruder). Sometimes I question if it’s my cop’s daughter instincts or my paranoia from too much Criminal Minds, but I am always aware of my surroundings. When I’m in a building I have an exit plan in my head in case something happens. I was taught how to protect myself. (think Gracie Lou Freebush)

Having connections:

This brings me to my favorite assumption about cops kids....“well your dad's a cop so if anything happens your dad will get you out of it.” Maybe some cops, but not my dad. A specific quote after an event happened in my hometown, “If you were there I would’ve told them to take you downtown.” And he was 110% serious. My brother and I were not expected to be perfect but we were definitely expected to stay out of trouble.

There is an unspoken sense of comradery between cops. They look over each other's families. Especially if someone has been killed in the line of duty.

Putting your life on the line

The fear of being a cops child never really hit me until about 5th grade. One of my good friends dad was killed in the line of duty and I attended the 10th anniversary memorial with her. I didn’t realize how that affected me at the time, but for the next week I wouldn’t go to school.

At ten years old I didn’t know how to process all of the emotions I was feeling. Basically I had overwhelming anxiety and my brain was making myself think I was sick so I wouldn’t feel well enough to go to school. I wanted to stay home because my mom would stay home with me so I knew if anything happened to my dad I would at least have her. I saw my close friend grow up without a father, and although her family handled it well, I cannot imagine the scars it left on their hearts.

{To those of you that have experienced that heartache, I am so sorry for your loss and I pray you find strength and comfort}

As time passed that anxiety faded, until the Dallas shooting a few years ago. I specifically remember watching the news sitting on my parents’ bedroom floor and feeling terrified. Although I wasn’t a child anymore, the thought of losing my father still wasn’t okay. I have so much life left that he needs to be there for. My family didn’t say much we all just stared at the TV probably all feeling the same emotions. It is moments like those that other families don’t quite understand. (Except other first responders/military families).

Character:

I have never heard my dad ask for privileges or boast about being a cop. Cops probably know they are viewed as heroes in some peoples' eyes, but the majority of them don't act like it. Most cops are very humble and kind. My dad always talks to me about being caring towards all people. He says "I don't care what your race, religion, or sexual orientation is. Its my job to protect you and I will." I would say probably 99.9% of cops would agree with that statement. The level of respect, humility, integrity, and kindness I have witnessed from my dad and his fellow officers has made me who I am today.

There are so many aspects of being a cop’s kid that can’t quite be explained. The level of respect I have for all first responders and military personnel comes directly from my experiences with my dad. I will be the first person to say that I know there are bad cops. I don’t claim that all cops are good people or good at their job, but MOST of them are.

Anyone that puts their life on the line to protect others is a hero in my book. Is my dad in the line of fire every day? No. But any time he goes out to a crime scene he’s willingly putting himself in harm’s way. And I am thankful for every day I get to spend with him because I know there are so many families that no longer have that privilege.