Standing in my dad’s shadow – it can get dark in here

Sam Partin, staff writer

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     It’s safe to say I’m just like every other cop’s kid. Being a part of the environment I grew up in is far from a bad thing.  I’m not out of my comfort zone at 0430 hundred hours running down the highway to work out — it’s a good time to enjoy the solace.

     My dad, who’s in the FBI now, raised me to exude an air of confidence. Everyone wants to hire me, because my Dad casts a big shadow. “He can’t be a trouble-maker — his dad would kill him,” they assume, rightly.

     Being a cop’s kid, I’m half expected to play “Call of Duty.” What a lot of people don’t understand is that I’ve personally shot most of those weapons. I don’t need a video game.

     As I said earlier, my Dad casts a big shadow. I have to put up with both my peers and adults trying to learn about my Dad through anyone but my Dad. It’s really strange when people start a conversation with, “Is your dad in the CIA?” A lot of the attention that gets cast my way is because my Dad is who he is. Being the son of Phillip Partin, who has been in law enforcement for the last 21 years, people expect me to be an intelligent, physically competent man of integrity like him. We both have a big position to fill, and it’s not all positives.

     My dad missed my fifteenth birthday, which was when I started driving my dad’s truck. My mother was ripping out her hair trying to juggle my little brother’s baseball, my track, and Driver’s Ed. Family life gets hectic when you have only one parent at home. I didn’t hear from him until three weeks after my birthday.

     He didn’t send me on my way to my first international trip (to Canada with my church youth group) either. Do I wish he was there? Not really.

     My father was in Afghanistan, doing what he does best, allowing people like us to sleep soundly at night. Yes, Midland, Texas, is on the list of high risk targets for terrorist attacks. My dad was stationed at Kabul, Afghanistan, from Feb. 20 to May 21, 2009. My Dad worked with American and Allied forces to liberate Afghanistan from foreign fighters and Taliban influence, which is all I’m permitted to say. 

      I see where things could have gotten very ugly while Dad was away, but  it never did. I never honestly considered that my Dad’s job was dangerous or that he wasn’t a young man anymore. My Dad deals with our nation’s most dangerous criminals on a daily basis, which I didn’t consider Afghanistan’s most dangerous criminals could be any worse. Finally, I would lie down to sleep, and I knew that my Dad was where God and Flag needed him most, and that was the safest place he could be.