The family food chain

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If you have a teenager, you know what it’s like to deal with their hormones and mood swings. Add a younger sibling into the mix and there’s plenty of head butting.

Sometimes during these head butting and hormonal episodes, the teen forgets where they fall in the family food chain.

Today, I was driving northbound on the 57 freeway as I headed toward Brea. My son was in the front seat having a hormonal teen moment with his attitude.

After a few minutes, order was restored in the car as I reminded him about the family food chain in my house. He seemed to think he was at the top of it with me. I explained to him that one day he would be up there when he had his own family, job and house.

That’s when we came upon an SUV with a sticker in the window of a T-Rex chasing and eating stick people. It was a perfect moment for me to bring home my point as I said, “Look at that sticker on that car.”

With a pouty face my son looked over at it.

“See the T-Rex? That’s me and you’re the little people that are getting chased.”

That made him smile and eased the tension inside my car.  It’s always a good thing to remind the kids who the T-Rex in the family is.

Hitting the jackpot on September 11

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Photo courtesy of Flickr

One of the fun parts of this job is the reactions that kids give when they see you walking around in uniform or sitting in the police car. Whenever I see a child waving at me, I make sure to wave back. The smile on their face and the wave back is always worth it.

On September 11, I was sitting in my car in a parking lot when a family walked by. The mother and father told their 5 year old son to wave at me, which he did. I said hi back at the same time I put my emergency lights on for him. He was surprised to see the lights come on and had the “wow” look on his face.

I got out of the car and said, “Do you want to sit in the police car?”

The boy’s face lit up as he turned toward his parents. His mom and dad told him to go ahead. He started to climb into the car when he spotted a penny that was near the seat. He grabbed the penny and tried to give it to me. I waved my hand at him as I said, “Keep it. It’s yours.”

With a surprised look he shoved the penny into his shorts pocket as fast as he could. He then sat down in the driver seat with a satisfied look on his face as I closed the door for him.

His mother took out her phone and told him to smile so she could take a picture. After the photo was taken I opened the door so he could get out. As he started to get out of the car I pointed to the area on the door where I put spare change as I said, “What’s in there?”

The little boy peeked at the door handle and saw nickels, dimes and a quarter. He looked at me as I said, “Go ahead. You can have them.”

His eyes got huge and then looked back at the coins because he had just hit the lottery. His huge jackpot eyes then looked back at me to be sure.

“Go ahead.”

He grabbed at the change like his hands were miniature Pac Mans gobbling up everything he could find. He had the biggest smile as he put the change into his pockets as deep as he could to make sure none would come out. His parents then told him, “What do you say?”

With a quick turn of the head he said, “Thank you.”

Before the boy left, I said, “Keep the coins so you will always remember that today was September 11th.”