Oh I have missed writing about this part of my life. Thanks to a leave of absence, my firefighter hasn’t been to the station for quite a few months. And it has given me time to realize how much I have changed over the last ten years. It has also given me time to compile a list of what a fire wife knows. And before you think that it couldn’t apply to every day life, read on. I’ve realized that being a fire wife helps me be a better friend, hockey mom and human.
After ten years with the station, it was a weird adjustment for everyone to not have the pager sound. It was a weird separation that put me out of touch with what was going on in my community. It was much like me trying to adjust to no hockey on the schedule really.
But he’s back now. And with it comes a few things I had forgotten about. Here’s what this fire wife knows.
1. A person will adjust to anything given enough time. Including the piercing noise of a pager. It took me about four years, but I learned to sleep through that sound. However, you lose this skill in a matter of months. This week alone, the pager has gone off in the middle of the night twice and I have jumped out of my skin both times. I hope to regain the skill I used to have and be able to say I can sleep through the pager again soon.
2. Flexibility and adaptability make life with a firefighter that much easier to live. Plans change. Dinners are postponed. Holidays are often interrupted. Which brings me to point #3.
3. Sometimes you are not the priority. My children are learning this lesson now. Sometimes, someone else needs the boys’ dad more than they do. That doesn’t mean that their dad loves someone more, just sometimes they are not the number one priority. Personally, I think this is a good lesson to teach a kid. Though ask me again when I’m explaining for the 36th time that day why daddy had to go be a firefighter.
4. You can learn to estimate their return time, but you shouldn’t always count on it. This goes back to flexibility. I know that an alarm call is usually complete within an hour. I know that a building on fire means 4 hours minimum. But there are always exceptions to the rule. For example, the first call he answered after his leave of absence resulted in a three call night. He was gone for 6 hours, which doesn’t make sense when he left for an alarm call. You learn that you can talk yourself into a panic or out of one, it’s totally up to you. And believe me, there are nights when I talk myself into a panic. Even after 10 years. If you give things time, everything will make sense in the end. Always.
5. When you talk yourself into a panic, the best thing to do is get in touch with other fire wives. They can help calm you down. They might have more information. At minimum they will be more logical than you are. I say to get in touch with them because trying to call your firefighter will likely result in your call going to voicemail which will only induce more panic. Fire wives, they understand the kind of panic that the ones sitting at home are often left with. I’m lucky to have a few different groups of friends who understand the different parts of my life: Fire Wife, Hockey Mom, Writer. The list goes on. I appreciate all my friends.
Here’s what took me forever to understand: All these things that I’ve learned have seeped into the rest of my life. And I would strongly argue that my life and my marriage are more fulfilling because of it.
See you at the rink.