A Weekend of Fear and Pride

Fast asleep and dreaming of nothing more than being asleep, FireDad’s pager woke me up in the wee hours of Sunday morning. He responded to the station to find out that the fire was one of the big buildings on our city’s version of Main Street. He scrambled to throw on some pants and put in his contacts. With a quick kiss, he was out the door.

I know better. I know better than to head out to the living room and turn on the scanner, to listen to the play-by-play fire chatter as everything happens. I know that the best thing for me to do as a wife and a busy mother of two little boys is to say a quick prayer, roll over and get back to sleep. I know all of this. Hard-headed as I am, I went against my logic and turned on the scanner. The last downtown fire involved mutual aid and somewhere just over 100 firefighters to fight the blaze. I spent three hours listening to the ins and outs of a fire, reporting various things like collapsing walls and general mayhem on my twitter. After two cups of hot tea, I was finally able to go back to sleep for an hour and a half before BigBrother woke up in tears because his Daddy had promised to make him oatmeal in the morning and he was, of course, gone, fighting a fire as firefighting dads do. No consolation. BigBrother was mad. I was tired and anxious. Not a great mix.

FireDad borrowed a cell phone at nine o’clock in the morning to give us a call, to let us know that he was fine. I am thankful for that small call, that reassurance that my husband was fine. At that point, he had been gone for seven hours and yes, I was anxious. We went to church. We came home. No FireDad. Ten hours. We ran errands. We came home. No FireDad. Twelve and a half hours. I then decided, in my exhaustion, fixing supper wasn’t a feasible option. Neither was guessing whether or not my husband was still okay. So we ordered pizza from the place closest to the fire site, said we’d pick it up and we were off. I put LittleBrother in the mei tai on my back and we walked down.

And I’ve never seen such a beautiful site.

Firefighter Walking

It’s hard. I tell other women who are considering the idea of marrying a firefighter that it’s not easy. Marrying a firefighter means marrying the fire department in various ways. It also means that there will be nights and days of not knowing, of not seeing or touching or having any help. In fact, FireDad worked a 36 hour shift this weekend, coming home five hours before he was called out on the downtown blaze. The boys have only seen him for a half an hour, all weekend. Mega-meltdown of epic proportions on the part of BigBrother this morning; and why? “I Miss Daddy.” I do, too. To boot, LittleBrother got sick last night and threw up on the both of us just as FireDad was called back to the fire department. Yes, I cried.


I knew who I was marrying and what I was marrying into. That doesn’t mean I’m any less stressed with a fire of this size, a weekend in which everything seems to go wrong. We had plans, plans that never saw completion. We can’t even go ahead and do what we were planning sometime this week or next weekend because it was a one-time event. It happens. I knew that. I know that. But it’s hard at times.

The good news is that he is safe. The other firefighters are safe. No one was injured in the fire. Similarly good news is how impressed the boys are with their Daddy as of right now. BigBrother had never been on the scene of the immediate aftermath of a fire. He was in awe, both of the fire and his Daddy. As soon as we returned home from picking up pizza, we had to don our firefighter costumes and put out fires in the backyard. BigBrother reiterated, all evening, that he wants to be a firefighter when he grows up. And despite having been on edge all weekend, scared about the well-being of the man I love most in this world, I hugged my oldest son and said, “That would make Mommy very proud.”

Little Firefighters

Mutual Aid

I mean every word of it. Proud.


[Firefighters and others interested in the logistics of the fire can read the article and view the video. The video was hard for me to watch. The fire is not small. I would therefore encourage any potential fire wives to watch that video. FireDad’s crew is currently at the scene putting water on smoldering, demolished pieces of the building so they don’t spread. We’re under a wind advisory today as well.]


Cyber Monday

13 Replies to “A Weekend of Fear and Pride”

  1. Oh man, when I scrolled down and saw the picture of Firedad, my eyes got all misty. what a great shot and a great surprise.

    Glad everyone is safe, and i hope they get the issue thats going on now taken care of soon!

  2. I’m so glad everyone is okay! I can’t imagine being married to a firefighter with the uncertainty and fear!

    (((((hugs))))))) to the whole firefamily!
    .-= andy´s last blog ..400 =-.

  3. BB has great form….No doubt that he will make a great firefighter. Glad all are safe & hope LB is doing better. Prayers for all…Todd

  4. was thinking of you and the boys today when we went to “fire truck park” –posted a silly little thank you on Flickr. This post really drives home the reality of fire life. I was going to get H a fire costume on crazy8, but they didn’t have his size. He may yet be a “fire dog” for Halloween instead!
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..her best shot Monday =-.

  5. I remember the first call my dad got to respond to a fire when I was just a kid. I remember him sitting in that truck and the look on his face as they rolled out, lights and sirens blazing.

    I wondered if he was coming back.

    He did, and he’s come back every time since then. This post reminded me of that day. For me (and for our family), it’s gotten easier as time goes by. I hope it gets easier for you too.

    FWIW, my firedad’s son (my firebro?) grew up and became a firefighter too :)

  6. Your post brought tears to my eyes. I’m so glad he’s okay. And you have every reason to be proud of your sons and your hubby! I can only barely imagine how tough it is to be the wife of a fire fighter, much less how tough it is to be a fire fighter! I think you have to be “called” to that special position.

    Thanks for this amazing post. Really does make you stop and think about all those people who make such great sacrifices for others. God bless you and your family!!!!
    .-= Mary Lutz´s last blog ..Tackle it Tuesday: Diet and Exercise =-.

  7. Wow, what an amazing post and an inspirational life you do lead. I love your blog! I came for this week’s You Capture and was so intrigued I wandered around a bit more and I love what I’ve come across! I shall add you to my Google Reader. Thanks for sharing!
    .-= jade @ Tasting Grace´s last blog ..you capture – fall =-.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *