A Cop, a Baby, and the Future

Morning`s thin light breaks the darkness hesitantly. The infant, now in his fifth day on Earth, is dwarfed by the crib, a speck on a sea of mattress. So it seems at least to the cop who stares down intently. The Magnum revolver, the nightstick, the handcuffs, the uniform in general, seem out of place in this baby`s room. Not to the cop, of course; this is his profession, these are his tools. The baby sleeps peacefully, unaware of the contrasts in this early morning scene.

I tug at the gunbelt until the pistol rests comfortably on my hip, careful that it doesn`t block the opening to the trouser pocket. Welcome home, son. Your first night has been just fine. A single mid-morning feeding, then peaceful sleep for all of us. Son. The word generates awe, fear, panic and pride simultaneously. What do I know about being a father? In this quiet moment the responsibility begins to dawn with the morning sun. It becomes almost overwhelming. This tiny but perfect human form, so vulnerable, so dependent, so completely powerless in the world about him.

Don`t worry, son, I`ll come home. I`ll be here. Or will I? A cop in a big city, brightly marked squad, ghetto beat. Am I not also vulnerable, dependent, powerless to a degree? I won`t let anything happen, I can`t let anything happen. I will be home tonight, son. But . . . where do the dangers lie?

We`re alike, son. The future is beyond our control. We can`t foresee your repeated hospitalizations for asthma and pneumonia. The birthdays, the Christmases, your two brothers yet to come. We can`t see that cancer will take your mother from us before you`re 7. We can`t see the intense student nurse, at this very moment praying, in a chapel hundreds of miles from here. She`ll be your “second“ mom. And still a third brother. The bike, the car, the fractured skull . . . “I thought I could make it, Dad.“ Oh how vulnerable and powerless we both are, son.

But not this morning, not here in this room. I`m your father. I will protect. I will control. The Lord willing, and with extra care on my beat, I will be home tonight and every night. I`m responsible for you, son. For the first time as a police officer, I leave for work with a touch of fear for what the day holds in store. I can`t let anything happen to me. Because at this moment, neither of us realizes how fate will rule our future. The dangers, the joys, the times to laugh, the times to cry. They will come when we least expect them.


9 Comments on “A Cop, a Baby, and the Future”

  1. Kristen says:

    Love it, Uncle Jim. My how I relate so well.

  2. Robin says:

    Truly an inspirational writer. Thank you for the guidance.

  3. Nancy Pasquerelli says:

    A powerful piece of writing. I feel compassion for your thoughts because we also have lost a son. For someone who has lost either a spouse or child this is a piece of writing that gets to one’s soul. Thanks for your thoughts.

  4. Tracy Hipple says:

    Love it and so very true. Keep the stories coming.

  5. Scott says:

    I too, am a police officer. I too have made those same promises to my young son. The only difference is I have no idea what our future holds. Thank you for allowing me to know I am not alone in with the same thoughts in a very dark world.

    • Juan says:

      Scott, I read your response and it brought back memories. Over 24 years ago, I thought the same way. It took me a very long time to get it. At one time, I too made promises to my son, he is now 26 years old and a good man. One of the biggest changes that has occurred in my life is that God revealed his truth to me, and my life has never been the same and it never will be. There are a lot of things that I am not sure of, two that come to mind is professional wrestling and roller derby. But if there is one thing that I am now positive about is that there is a God.I know now that by serving God’s people as a Law Enforcement Officer, I serve him. That is revelation and purpose in life! Some men my age only exist, You and I exist to glorify him, by serving his people.I now know that even in the darkest moments of my Police career, God was there, protecting me. Making sure I was coming home to my little boy. Continue to be that Positive Man in your son’s life and he will shine, in this dark world. I am not trying to push my faith on you or anyone, it doesn’t work that way. Just rest assured, that even though I do not know you, I will be praying for a Fellow Brother and his son. Peace !

  6. Carole says:

    Thank you Mr. Padar for your words of wisdon and wit! I anxiously await more stories.

  7. Tony says:

    Wow, you put to words what I think sometimes when heading off to work. Keep on writing.

  8. Michelle says:

    Thank you for sharing your stories. They touch my heart and encourage me. I am not a police officer – I am a dispatcher. The window you give me into the job and the officer inspires me to be the best I can be for Chicago’s finest who are serving, often thanklessly, each day, day in and day out. I really can’t imagine how you or they do it – except in what you described to Scott – for God’s glory. With that motivation, anything is possible and we are given the grace we need.

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