Sometimes there were tough days at work. Days that left me shaking my head and wondering how people can treat each other so cruelly; wondering what made me sign up to bear witness to it; and wondering how to emotionally survive it. The badge gives officers a lot of power, but man there were plenty of times I felt powerless to effect meaningful change in the lives of those who needed it most; specifically children who were hurt, depressed and abandoned. Like most officers I did whatever I could, oftentimes going above and beyond what was expected, but after so many years it began to feel like trying to hold onto sand.
I had the following message taped to my bulletin board at work. Many times, as the shift came to a close, I would read it as I gathered my things to go home. It gave me perspective, cleared my head, and prepared me to go home. I don’t know who originally wrote it, but I am eternally grateful for finding it.
To My Children, After a Hard Day at Work:
- Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry, and pick you up and take you to the park to play.
- Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.
- Just for this afternoon, I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer off, and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles.
- Just for this afternoon, I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble when you scream and whine for the ice cream truck and I will buy you one if he comes by.
- Just for this afternoon, I won't worry about what you are going to be when you grow up, or second guess every decision I have made where you are concerned.
- Just for this afternoon, I will let you help me bake cookies, and I won't stand over you trying to fix them.
- Just for this afternoon, I will take us to McDonald's and buy us both a Happy Meal so you can have both toys.
- Just for this evening, I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about how you were born and how much I love you.
- Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.
- Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.
- Just for this evening, I will snuggle beside you for hours, and miss my favorite TV shows.
- Just for this evening when I run my finger through your hair I will simply be grateful that I have the greatest gift ever given.
- I will think about the mothers and fathers who are searching for their missing children, the mothers and fathers who are visiting their children's graves instead of their bedrooms, and mothers and fathers who are in hospital rooms watching their children suffer senselessly, and screaming inside that they can't handle it anymore.
- And when I kiss you good night I will hold you a little tighter, a little longer, and be ever so grateful and thankful for you.