Most days I think that my life as a fire wife isn’t much different than the life of any other wife/mommy out there. Other people have to deal with spouses traveling for work or constantly being on the road, long hours, perhaps a spouse in the military, police wives etc. Yes being a fire wife is different than being the wife of a 9-5 spouse, but not much different I imagine than the above mentioned occupations. The thing is, for us, it is a life of the unexpected. If we have plans and the radio lets out a tone and there is a fire, daddy is outta here. Fire life has been a learning curve. My husband has been on the department for almost 7 years and I am still learning not be disappointed when plans get flipped upside down or not to take it personally when he walks out the door for overtime or a detail. I realize that the fire life is a lifestyle and that I need to be flexible, patient and understanding; things that I can only get from the good Lord above, because on my own, in my own skin, in my own flesh, I am disappointed, offended, sad, or angry.
What does it look like to be a flexible fire wife? Well first of all I can not touch my toes when I sit down to stretch, so it is not a physical flexibility. I noticed last week that a lot of unplanned things were coming my way. Since I didn’t overschedule myself, I was able to be flexible with my plans. All of this while my husband worked 84 hours with only a few hours off in between… 24, 24, 12ish(at his part time job), 24, home for 30 minutes to shower and get his class A’s and head to a funeral for a fallen fire fighter. Flexibility, patience, and understanding really all work together as the trifecta of peace and harmony when it comes to dealing with things like 84 hours of work, yes he is working 84 hours at the station and at his part time job, but I am also working 84 hours at home, because I have got to figure it all out; the wake ups, the breakfasts, the bus stop(Lord please help us make the bus!), the drop offs, the picks ups, the lunches, the dishes(I don’t have a dishwasher, I am the dishwasher-but God loves me and made paper plates!), the home work time, the dinners, the dishes, the laundry, the baths and showers, the bed time stories, the bed time snuggles and prayers, I haven’t even mentioned time for myself to write, to read, to clean my testosterone filled house, to workout, to chat with a grown human and not just my small ones, and on and on and on…And lets be honest, when I get crabby that he is working so many stinking hours(which I sometimes do), it makes it worse for me, because I get lost in the yuck place in my mind where I am slamming cabinets open and shut looking for things, tossing the laundry basket on the floor, etc instead of in a place of gratitude where I am thankful that my firefighter is providing for us, where I am thankful that we have a home with 3 healthy boys that I have the absolute privilege of spending my time with.
Have I been stuck with disappointment? Of course. Who hasn’t been? Going to special ed meetings by myself, doctors appointments, school concerts, birthday parties, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, church etc… flying solo is just the way it has to be sometimes. I have shed quite a few tears in the past 7 years and I’m positive I will shed more in the many years to come. But shedding tears over flying solo temporarily is nothing compared to the thought I was struck with last week when my man attended the funeral of a fallen firefighter. In the midst of parenting through teachable moments for 84 hours by myself(the first 24 I failed at by the way), trying to be flexible and grateful, I put on the television to see a grief stricken fire family who would never see their fireman on this side of heaven again. That thought stayed with me all day. It was really the most wild thing, because my guy has been to several funerals for fallen firefighters, but this one just hit me differently, and when Kenny walked in the door that night, I was so thankful that he was home. And when I went to bed that night, even though it was hours after him(he was coming off of 84 hours plus all day at a funeral, so his bedtime was 7pm), I crawled into bed, so overcome with emotion, so thankful he was home, that while I prayed, tears silently streamed down my face and I cried myself to sleep. Tears of grief for that family, tears of gratitude for mine.
So what does life as a fire wife look like for me? It looks messy and loud. It looks like trips to the library and the playground. It looks like pajama days, snuggling on the couch with double feature movies. It looks like me telling my lunatic child that he has climbed too high in a tree and that I don’t want daddy to have to come with the ladder truck to get him down or in the rescue to take him to the hospital. It looks like trips to urgent care for any number of reasons. It looks like dance parties and Michael Jackson music blasting in the living room. It looks like vomiting children sharing one toilet(because children usually don’t vomit when daddy is home, why? I don’t know!) It looks like me texting daddy, “There is vomiting, don’t come home, save yourself” It looks like the same lunatic child climbing up a full flight of basement stairs with rollerblades on his feet. It looks like tantrums, from the kids and from me. Or one of my favorite moments today, in the car, on the way home from church, from the 3rd row of my minivan came the call of a 9 year old asking, “Mom, what’s a player?” My response, biting my lip, “Can I think about how to answer that and get back to you in a bit?” It looks like a text to hubby, “9 year old asked me what a player is, how should I field this question???”
Last week gave me a new perspective, a new way to look at my life as a fire wife, a new way to look at our life as a fire family. What does that look like? More of everything above, but with a better attitude. It looks like more laughter, more intentional family time, and a deeper love and appreciation for one another. It’s not just for me as a fire wife either, it is for everyone out there in blog land reading this. We don’t know when our time on earth is up. So let’s not make a mess of today and take that chance that today could be our last. Does that mean that we will never have a completely sucktastic day ever again? Absolutely not. But we sure can choose to look at things differently and have more good days than bad ones. I want to dance with my boys, laugh at the crazy, ridiculous, stupid things they do(but not the dangerous stuff), sing in the car(I started yesterday, ask the hubby), love, respect, and treasure one another. I want to live in the moment with my 4 lovable guys , stop being so serious, and enjoy the ride.!