Why should this homecoming be any different from the end of a normal shift? Really, maybe it shouldn’t have. But we tend to get overly excited about the little things in life and so after only four days of being without our fireman, my girls and I were elated that he would be home again soon.
My firefighter and two of his crew members spent four days of travel and class time, attending a swift-water rescue course in Tennessee. According to him, it was one of the most physically demanding classes he had ever taken; basically it kicked his butt. But they all did well, had a blast and want to take Level II next summer. My fireman was exhausted and sore in ways he couldn’t describe, but he was also happy to be coming home. While he was gone, the girls and I took on the typical fire family role of going on about daily life. We are so used to shifts and classes and conferences and academies at this point that some busy months we just expect him to be gone and treat his hours at home like a pleasant surprise. Trust me when I state that I’m not saying this in a sarcastic or crass manner. This is just the hardened approach we’ve had to take in order to avoid constantly needing the man of the house to be here. Despite this attitude, a homecoming is always a welcomed event.
This time, our fireman had the good fortune of being gone over the first weekend of fall. I have a burning desire each fall, to sort through stuff, throw stuff out and find items to donate. Even the girls hopped onboard this weekend. By Sunday, our bedroom was peaceful and welcoming again, with a freshly made bed and some newly unearthed fire items added to the walls. The girls’ room was picked-up and sorted, which is an accomplishment similar to saying the three of them held back a tsunami with their bare hands; miracle of miracles! The living room, kitchen and bathroom were tidy, dusted, vacuumed and disinfected.
We were able to receive our fireman in a clean home with a home-cooked meal then relax together as a family. As I sat in bed last night, listening to his stories of the weekend, I still felt the faintest twinge of jealousy I sometimes feel when he gets to go on these adventures and I get to hold down the fort. But that feeling was quickly squashed as he pulled me in close and breathed a sigh of contentment over my head. I knew right then, that the girls and I did it. We spent no money and did little things to keep the stress and worry of life at bay. We spoiled him with love and affection as the man of our house. Most importantly, we made him feel that there is no place else he would rather be, if given a choice. And that’s exactly the feeling we want him to have.
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