Firefighters and fire wives both know the sacrifices we each make living the fire life. Although we may not always tell each other.
A little thank you or acknowledgement of how much your spouse gives, either at home or at the station, can go a long way to the heart of a tired spouse.
They may be worn out by giving to others above taking care of themselves, and that extra thank you (or insert any love language action) can fill their hearts right up.
Here is one firefighter who understands there is sacrifice and giving on both sides of a fire life relationship. This is one of the best requests we’ve ever received from a firefighter over the years. He is retiring and is going to surprise his wife with a special honor as his official send off.
During my official send off the department goes over several of my career accomplishments… Promotions, life saves, unit citations etc.
I want to do the same for my wife. I will also have the Chief give her a ceremonial helmet with a (not going to disclose so we don’t ruin the surprise!) along with her accomplishments.
I have collected a few random thoughts about the award but am confident that I am missing a lot. Here is what I have so far:
- Whereas – Dealt with home catastrophes every third day with no relief
- Watch your husband come home and say I am going to bed — had a Rough Night!
- Reading flash cards for the promotional test improve his chances
- Spending many Christmases, Thanksgivings and other holidays alone with family while your husband was absent
- Being confident regardless of the dangers of the job he and his fellow firefighters are well trained and capable of performing the job safely
- Understanding that a “Great Call” has multiple definitions from something comical to truly awesome
- Allowing him to hit the snooze button for XX years on weekends and holidays even though he knew that actually woke you up for no reason
- Allowing him to have a second “family” and becoming one of them
- Not laughing when watching him flinch at the mall because a dot matrix printer go off
- Allowing him to rant at the TV when a rescue is going on because it is not how his department would do it
We asked the Fire Wife Sisterhood to help this soon to be retiring firefighter complete this list.
In true Fire Wife style, the raw, honest responses flooded in.
Here is what the fire wives had to say to this loving firefighter.
- For being both parents at school and sporting events, & riding to the hospital or vet alone, just generally holding down the fort through shifts, naps and copious overtime.
- Cooking extra food or dessert so the guys had a tasty treat.
- Listening to the gory details, even though it’s hard, because she knew when you needed her.
- For being there to hold silently whenever you needed a soft place to land.
- Keeping the calendar straight so when you got overwhelmed with multiple schedules, events and deadlines, she was there to gently remind you.
- Encouraging even when she couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, knowing as long as they move forward together they will get there.
- For constantly saying, “he’s working,” and not flipping out on everyone who asks!
- For having hot meals ready no matter if you got home early or late, so you could fuel up and knock out.
- For never giving up, even when you felt like strangers passing in the night
- Abiding by the list of fire and safety hazards from a maybe paranoid firefighter husband: no candles, no leaving cell chargers plugged in, no leaving coffee pot plugged in (the list goes on).
- For knowing the TV rescue is vastly different from his department, because TV and movie emergency scenes are wildly unrealistic.
- Dealing with issues on the phone and having him have to drop the phone for a call. I remember trying to deal with the closing on the sale of our house and I had to get some info from him and every time I called he would get a call
- For single parenting through a lot of difficult issues.
- Any major disasters that she handled?? I had to handle a busted pipe and flooded basement all by myself.
- For doing 90% of the household chores because you were tired from a shift or at the station.
- Working through every major snowstorm……the wife is the snow removal team!
- Late night relief every time they have plans!
- Not being able to get through any kind of shopping without interruption- like bumping into someone he knows and proceeds to talk through the next hour.
- For stressing over things alone when you were overwhelmed and she didn’t want to add to your stress.
- Always kissing you before a shift and never saying goodbye but see you later and be safe. (Its a rule in our house we never say goodbye, but see you later)
- For being brave when something scary was on the news dealing with your department (big fire\bad wreck)
- For praying for his safety everyday and wondering how to help when he has had one of those calls, like a loss of a child or LODD.
- For making it through the Murphy’s Law of shift days/nights. It never fails.
What would you add?
For some more reading
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