Okay, now he did it. Once again, my firefighter went and left the state for a class. It is only four days, for four different months. This shouldn’t be a big deal. For me, it isn’t. But for our youngest daughter, the softest petal in our family flower, this absence is a universe-quaking, life-altering catastrophic event.
Cameron is only 6 years old. She has spent her whole life with her daddy going to the firehouse for shift days. She understands overtime and buddy swaps that may take him away for three days at a time. Add on a day of his second job on his first day away from the firehouse and sometimes it is four days between daddy sightings even when he’s still in town.
His current class is only a four-day class. His last class was only four days, too. But both times, she has clung to him, desperately showering him with kisses just before he left. The hour after departure was spent moping around the house and sobbing endlessly.
For a couple reasons, this is difficult for me to deal with. I have a very low tolerance for tears. I unwillingly cry when I am crazy angry and that only tends to tick me off more, so I hate tears coming from me. I have only cried out of sadness over a few loved beings in my life. In short, I’m not a crier. Another reason is that while I do try to comfort my tender little rose, her two older sisters who are so used to this life that it’s normal for them, usually traipse through her sob session. Of course, they can’t do it without stopping and playing Twenty Questions with us, then proceeding to laugh at, make faces at, or roll their eyes at their baby sister.
Tonight, as soon as the truck pulled out of the driveway, the tears started. I gathered Cameron in my arms, sat down and just started rocking and kissing her sweet face and head. The other girls started our outdoor pet chores since we have a minor farm. After a few minutes, I was summoned to inspect a duck who “wasn’t quacking” and was away from its mates. When I stepped back into the house, I heard the distant sounds of bagpipe music and heartbreaking sobs. Dear Lord, how pathetic can one 6-year-old get! If I could have made it all go away by ripping my own heart out and putting it in her, I would have done it in an instant. Since that wasn’t an option, I backed out of the house and cornered her sisters.
“Here’s the deal…” I told them what I’d heard so they could get all their laughter out outdoors. Then I offered them some well-known idle threats if they went inside and made fun of her or made it worse. Thankfully, they listened. Storm went in and talked to Cameron for a few minutes before giving up because the tears intensified. She’s not a tears kind of girl either, so I guess she figured a silent fall back plan would be acceptable. Kacy saved the night this time though. I told Cameron to go get bathed. She cried while getting her towel. She cried while collecting her night clothes. She moaned out some crocodile tears on the way through the kitchen, while I washed dishes. Kacy abandoned her dish drying post by my side and went upstairs and collected a whole stack of Dr. Seuss books. She took them in the bathroom, settled herself on a stool beside the tub and started reading. After a few pages, the sobbing abated. Within a couple more pages, the tears dried up. After a few more pages, Cameron was laughing at the story. When the bath was finished, five books had been read and Cameron came out reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish to Kacy and me as we worked in the kitchen.
My girls…I hope they always know how much their Daddy and I love every single beautiful aspect about their complicated and mysterious souls.
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