I was in my early twenties when I joined the force. When you’re that age, the job description sounds like an Indiana Jones adventure come true: death defying feats of bravery, a team of people you can count on, and the chance to make the world a safer place, one criminal at a time. And you don’t even have to learn to crack a whip. I’ve tried – it’s not as easy as it looks. But that adventure has a downside. You see it when your partner is laid up in the hospital… or in the funeral procession of a fallen officer. Though every once in a while you get that sense of “there but for the grace of God,” you don’t recognize the danger that’s out there until it’s in your face.
I guess I’ve been thinking about danger lately because Jenny and I are talking about having a baby. It’s a discussion I always thought we’d have “later”: after the end of this next big case, after our next anniversary, after we finish balancing the checkbook and mailing the rent. But now that we’ve got a few days off for the Christmas, we’ve been sitting down and really talking about what this would mean.
The truth is, it’s scary to think about. They say that nothing goes back to how it was once you have a family. I mean, I know I already have a family: I have parents and sisters who would kill to make sure I got home safely; a wife who insists I call her every day to assure her I’m safe. But I’ve seen how kids are a different story. You have to get used to the sleepless nights, the doctors’ visits, and all the other changes that come with having a child. Of course, there are the upsides, like teaching my son to shave or my daughter to play baseball (I’m an equal opportunity sports enthusiast). But what frightens me the most is facing danger. Jenny knew the risks when she agreed to marry me. But now, every time I go to work, I’m not just risking my life…but also the future of a kid who hasn’t been born yet. Is it selfish to have a job where I might get killed? Lots of kids who grow up without fathers are well adjusted (Castle being among them…arguably). But while I used to think I wouldn’t want to do anything else but work homicide, now I wonder if it’s the best fit.
I’m not saying I’m quitting the Force. Or even thinking about a transfer. It’s just that things are about to change…and I’m not sure the childless Indiana Jones lifestyle (SPOILER AERT: turns out Indie did have a kid the ryan report episode 508 after hours he just didn’t know it till the fourth movie) is the right one for me anymore. But at least I don’t have to choose between the whip and the baseball mitt just yet.