Letters from the Nest for week of April 26, 2012

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Christie Elkins

Blue Lights, Badges, and Bad Guys: Tales of a Police Wife Life

Mornings in our home probably begin similar to other homes around town.
The sunlight peeks through the blinds, beckoning another day’s beginnings. We roll out of bed, squinty eyed, stumble for glasses, head to the kitchen to prepare breakfast.
Once the coffee is made, milk cups and bottle prepared, we attempt to enjoy breakfast as a family, amidst the “I don’t like this” cereal complaints, to the recounts of dreams filled with barking dogs, ballerinas, and chocolate muffins.
But, the day truly begins for us when Daddy suits up for work. Once he slides his feet into those freshly polished boots, clips his badge and duty weapon onto his pants, and gives each of us a kiss goodbye, the final morning commencement comes from the children’s exclamations of “I wanna see blue lights, Daddy!!”
They leave empty bowls and tattered napkins behind at the table and rush to the red, worn couch at the front window to watch the patrol car leave the driveway. The blue lights flicker quickly as the reflection of them can be seen in their wide, hopeful eyes. Maybe Daddy will be home for supper tonight? Or could it be tomorrow’s breakfast before they see him again? As the day progresses, filled with toys, lunch, and naptimes, the conversations about their Daddy never cease to take place. “Is Daddy getting the bad guys?” “Are the bad guys boys or girls?” “How long do they stay in jail once they get there?” “Is Daddy safe at work?”
Do I tell them that the “bad guys” are people that are making some of the most dangerous drugs in existence and that every time their Daddy goes into a home that houses one of these meth labs, he risks his own life to save others? Or do I tell them that when he makes entry into a home, he has to wear a bulletproof vest to protect him from a potential deadly shot from a wanted man? Or should I mention to them that some of the “bad guys” do not kiss their children goodbye before work, but beat them behind closed doors, and that those same children have never had cereal and strawberries for breakfast and it could be days before their next meal?
Yet, in this season of life, my answers are always the same: Yes, Daddy is “getting” the bad guys today. The bad guys are both boys and girls. They could stay in jail a very long time. But, the last question is the hardest of all: Is Daddy safe at work?
So, we pray daily for his safety and anxiously await his return home. Every morning a police officer puts on their boots, badge, and gun, they know it could be their last goodbye. They miss bedtime stories, soccer practices, and trips to the park to keep our county safe.
So, the next time you see the soft glow of blue lights pass your vehicle in town, remember that those same blue lights just left three little children, praying that their Daddy will make it home in time for that hug and kiss good night.