Anytime a holiday comes around and your firefighter is working, it can seem like a big deal. If you’re a frequent reader, you know that I’m not a big fan of days on a calendar dictating when I celebrate anything, so holiday shifts don’t bother me usually. This year we’re sharing daddy with the world Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The only one who has complained so far would be a select SLIM few family who don’t understand that firefighters can’t “just take the day off”.
Most holidays can be shared at the fire house, if allowed.
I understand some departments aren’t as family friendly and welcoming as others. Some of them have been all work and no play for so long that no one pushes the issue of visitors or gatherings. I know that some firemen don’t like their families to visit the station if the other firefighters don’t have their families come visit. I know that being in a small town with slim to one firefighter on shift at a time is different than the larger city departments where you might not even know everyone who works there. (That blows my mind!) If visiting is allowed, even if it is for just an hour, do it! Take a treat that corresponds to the holiday. Cook a meal for them or coordinate with the other families and have a family meal. Start new traditions. Take a small gift they may need like dish towels or new cups!
If you’re one of wives who never visit the station because it isn’t a welcomed idea for whatever the reason may be, do not give up hope! Plant little seeds with your fireman to share. Maybe he can propose a trial run of having the families up for a lunch on a Saturday shift or a Friday night shift pizza night. Maybe those seeds will grow. Maybe it will open doors. It may take time, don’t give up hope. We trust these people with our significant others for hours upon hours a week to keep them safe while they all protect lives and possessions, they are a version of extended family. Why not mingle, at least a few times a year! If you’re just shy or uncomfortable, try something small first. You don’t know what you’re missing if you’re too afraid to try.
I’m lucky that one of my fireman’s departments are one man stations tucked away in the middle of nothing on a busy highway. (That might have just blown some of YOUR minds to hear one manned station!) We can go visit anytime we want, stay as long as we want, be as loud with the kids as we want, eat what we want… it’s fun for us but it’s no fun for him when he’s alone. We visit as often as he invites us to, which is pretty often. We usually go for three or four hours, cooking supper and watching a movie.
It took me a while to be comfortable with visiting my firefighter at work. I generally do not go during business hours. It’s comforting to see the people he is working with and how they have each others backs. To see how they behave like a family. It’s nice to feel at ease that everyone is able and capable of protecting each other. I love feeling like a part of this little fire family. Visiting may not be for everyone, I have read some people say they don’t like or want to go to the station and even go as far as to say they look down on doing so. If that is you, that is perfectly fine for YOU, for me and my family, we like to visit and are invited to do so. You just have to find what works best for everyone involved.
Share with us your advice!
Could your FFs dept be more family oriented?
Have you planted any seeds?