As I neared the end of my run, I thought of you. I remembered when I used to think no other woman could possibly understand what I was going through. I’m not just a wife and a mommy. I am a firefighter’s wife. My kids worship their Daddy on so many levels. The girls and I don’t just send him off to work, we pack him up and ship him off for days or sometimes weeks. We live this firefighting lifestyle with him, for him, because of him. With 14 years behind me now, it is easy to look back and remember the way my feelings have taken shape and changed and morphed throughout the years. At several points, our feelings could have been the end of us, the end of our marriage, but they weren’t. Instead, I found friendship in the most important place. Other fire wives would become my saving grace, as well as my life’s passion.
As I walked for my cool down, I thought of you. I remembered the way it felt to be together, in an entire room full of nothing but firefighter wives. I relived the feelings of love, support, and encouragement each woman gave to another. All of you were there: the newlyweds, the pregnant mommies, the career doubters, the newest academy graduates, the resenters, the jealous ones, the cancer fighters, the near-retirement wives.
As I slipped my silver key in the door and tumbled the lock, I thought of you. I thought of how strong we all are as firefighter wives. I hope I never have to face cancer with my fireman. But if I do, I know I will face it with you by my side. I hope I never have to get a visit from Chief saying my fireman isn’t coming home from shift. Thanks to you I know now that I’m not the only strong woman who has this fear creep up on her at times. I hope that 10 years from now, I will attend another Firefighter Wife convention and I can put my arms around my fire wife sisters and look back and say, “We were there. We did this. Look at all the fire strong marriages we’ve strengthened this past decade together.”