Spring is in full swing. Times are busy. Summer is almost here and we have a fire department picnic coming up. It’s nothing huge. No excessive costs. Everything is potluck style with only the main course being provided by our FAST (Firefighter Assistance Support Team.) But every year, it’s one of FAST’s favorite events.
Lazy Sunday afternoons are important to most Southerners and fire department picnic day is both lazy and fun. Under the sweeping oaks, in our soccer field chairs, we will all kick back, visit, and dine on fried chicken, home-baked macaroni and cheese and cornbread. This year, for the first time, we are renting a jump house from the local Marine base for all the little ones. The softball field will be used for a ripping game of kickball since last year’s game was such a hit with everyone from kids to Chiefs.
While every year is slightly different, the most noticeable change I see is the change in faces. When we started, my kids were the youngest ones at these events. Now, the older kids have faded away from the spotlight of “family” things. Some have moved away. Some still have parents in the fire department, but doing something either with their own family or with the fire department family slightly less cool than scraping dog doo off the bottom of one’s shoe. My girls, at 10, 7 and 5 are now considered older kids. While watching the previous older group disappear is sad on some level, watching the new ones be born into the department and stay here and continue to grow with their families here is exciting beyond belief.
No matter how the faces change though, I know our FAST group will always continue to bring together our families as one fire family. In a world (and to be honest, a profession) where the odds are so often stacked against family involvement, making regular practice of it is something we feel we need to do for us, our kids, our husbands and our whole fire family.