Right now it is a quiet Sunday morning. Kids are rolling out of bed and hubby was off early this morning working an extra shift at the firehouse for a co-worker. For all of us parents, our lives - how we live, what our lives revolve around, our lifestyles - are dictated in part by what we do for a living. I'm married to a firefighter, which means our life is much different than a family where the head of the household might be a salesman or a stockbroker or an engineer or a teacher.
Our activities revolve around my husband's unusual schedule or we're forced to do things on our own with out him. Today is the first soccer game for one of our boys. Most dads have Sundays off and will be there to watch the game. My husband will be on duty. And if he manages to be in the area of the park and is able to take in part of it (it's a home game that's in town unlike the upcoming away games), people see him stopping there in uniform for a few minutes to see his son and complaints roll in that he is on the clock and should be working, not taking a little time to see his son at his soccer game. It has happened. Many times. I have had people say to my face, "They just sit around at the firehouse. They aren't really working." I usually respond with something along the lines of "No, they aren't working every minute of a 24 hour shift, but when they have to work they definitely earn it. Like tonight when you're in bed at 3 a.m. and he is out on an ambulance call."
Take this weekend for example. He came home yesterday exhausted after his 24 hour shift (he gets off at 6 a.m.) and said that their shift had 14 calls and that he had slept only 3 hours the night before. Yet, knowing that we had plans to go to the water park as a family that afternoon, he took a quick catnap (about 45-minutes) then drove us to a water park 45-minutes away so we could have some fun for a few hours. Last night as we gathered to watch a family movie together, he barely got half way though and he was asleep. Then he was up at 5 a.m. this morning to work another shift. So, I'm here at home with the kids and heading off alone to a soccer game with my 10-year-old this afternoon. I spent a little time this morning online reading blogs and Facebook pages by other wives of firefighters. Firefighters have a brotherhood. We wives kind of have this sisterhood thing going. Even if you're reading something written by a complete stranger on the other side of the country, if she's a wife of a firefighter, she understand the life like no one else can.
So, it made me think back to this column I wrote for our local paper last Christmas. It kind of sums up our life - the craziness of it, the fear, the pride, the relief, the sacrifice. It originally ran here as my Mom Moments column in the Times.
Every day he comes home is a gift