Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Fire Family

I have this as my current profile picture for my Facebook page.  I love Facebook.  I have reconnected with long lost friends and found some friends that are as close as sisters to me if though they are stationed half way around the world.  But, and everyone has one, it opens up a whole new world of criticism.  Today, after changing my picture from a sketch of "me" drawn by one of my former students to the Fire Wife icon, two people lectured me.  I was told that I was "losing (my) identity" in my husband's career.  Another "friend" told me they she was "disappointed" in me because she thought I was a stronger woman than this.  I was a bit taken aback by the comments.  How does this change my value as a woman?  If anything it increases it.  My identity is not that of my husband's career, but is sure as heck has become a big part of it.  

I have been "writing" this post in my head since this morning.  Thinking of what to say and how I could make these people understand.  I debated on whether  to post the link to this posting on their wall or send it to them privately.  Then while I am making dinner - as the dog is helping himself to the veggies, the baby needs me to take her potty, my boys are fighting over cleaning their room and I have dispatch playing on the background of my laptop - it comes to me.  Nothing I can say or write or demonstrate will make them understand.  My husband is not half a world away, he is only 20 minutes away.  But every three days, our routine is interrupted.  The holidays were a perfect example - I need say nothing more.  When a spouse is deployed it is hard, but you establish a routine without them.  We are still figuring out how to do that with every day and a half being interrupted.  I have literally sat down with a calendar for the next two months and counted off BLUE shifts in order to figure things out.  My kids draw heroic pictures of their daddy when he is gone.  The dogs flock to him when he comes home.  And as much as I would love to have help me with the crazy kids or the tire that needs to be changed or the attitude adjustment that needs to be made with one of the boys, when Daddy comes home - it is still just me.  He needs to sleep and I still am a single mom until he gets that nap in.  How do you get people to understand that?



Our holidays revolved around the firehouse.  Where Daddy would be, when would we see him, how we could still have him involved in opening presents.  It was all centered around the firehouse.  The entire family revolves around that firehouse.  Appointments are scheduled around J's shift, school conferences, family gatherings - I even made alternate plans for tomorrow's Packer game, so J could sleep - EVERYTHING revolves around his work schedule.  So, tell me how I do not take on the identity of a Fire Wife.  My kids are proud of their Daddy - Desiree is going to be a firegirl just like her daddy (just ask her, she'll tell you!).  I am proud of my husband.  When everyone else is running away from the fire, he is running in - to save their stuff, their dog and their lives.  When there is an issue with a homeless person downtown and everyone else is trying to avoid them, my husband is trying to help them.  When an inmate at the jail has a seizure and the rest of the world is judging him - deciding if it is real or not - my husband is simply trying to make sure he is safe and his needs are tended to.  When an elderly woman's blood pressure has spiked and needs transport, he is making sure she is comfortable and informed of what is happening.  He is a public servant and a hero.


Don't judge me because I am now calling myself a Fire Wife.  I does not define me.  I am the sum of all of my parts and that happens to be one of my parts.  Was it in my plans?  No, absolutely not.  But, then again, neither was marriage and children and look at me now.  We don't know where life will take us.  I am enjoying the ride.  Just like the roller coasters - there are moments when I feel like I am going to puke and just want off.  There are also those moments of pure exhilaration that remind you why you got on this ride in the first place.

I am a proud Fire Wife, take me or leave me.
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