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How the women in my family taught me how to be a man

These Ladies. I wouldn’t be HERE without them.


Truly.


During my promotion, my Chief started talking about family and how much we need their support. He’s right. I started looking at them, and had to look away because I didn’t want to get emotional.


My mom was essentially raising me and my sister on her own in several regards for most of my childhood. She taught me work ethic, the grind, and sacrifice.


My wife has been with me through most of my ups and downs in this job- certainly the most significant ones.


We were dating and she was out of town for work when her friend asked if I was ok.. he had read that a Kent K9 was stabbed. She was hit with a ton of bricks until she could verify it was Kato, not me, and even then, she was beside herself especially being across the country.


We both remember vividly our experiences when I was driven home after almost being blown up. We remember her changing out my bandages from my scorched arms. We remember her waking me up when our friend was calling us both the night Diego died.


To love a first responder as a spouse and partner is something that I can only ponder and truly never know. I’ve been known at times to say, “ I wouldn’t sign up for it.” And yet she did, and does every day since.


I remember always wanting to be a dad. As a young, single man doing this job, I remember seeing kids in bad situations. I remember thinking that I could do a better job, even as a single guy living with my college buddies. It tore me up sometimes. There’s a lot of things I resolved to be as a dad, and to never be as a dad.


Our road to building a family was a rocky one. We always thought adoption was going to be the path, but when fertility treatment seemed viable, it created high highs of hope and the lowest lows of grief.


Our girl felt like a miracle baby. And she is. She teaches me things every day. A family friend asked if I would hang up this job now that I was a dad. I pondered it, but if anything, I felt that being a dad made me more invested in this world, and in essence staying in this necessary role to help fix it in the little ways we can. So here I am: because of them.


In my young adulthood I strove to be strong enough.. to be “a real man.” I credit many male role models, examples, mentors, brothers, and peers through my life.


However, some of the qualities that make me a better kind of man than I would be otherwise: sacrifice, care, connection, and growth- are mostly derived from these women in my life. And I am grateful.

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