06-11-2007, 01:48 PM #1
- Join Date
- Jun 2007
Hi! I'm a FF recruit's wife and looking for some help..
My husband is a FF recruit who will graduate soon. Weíve been married for 4 years and together for 7. Iíve known for years that he wanted this and he has been 100% committed to getting hired for two years (basically another full-time job between schooling, testing, interviews, etc.) I was totally for it and supported him until he actually got hired and then all of a sudden I had all these emotions that I never expected such as fear of something happening to him, missing him when heís gone, feeling as if being a firefighter is #1 and Iím #2 (never felt that way before with him with anything). We have pretty open communication and we have talked a lot about this. Iíve also talked to some wives and gotten some ideas and help there, but am wondering if the firefighterís view may help too. I want to 100% support him as he is living his dream, but Iím trying to find my way and my new place in all of this.
I love him more than anything, but sometimes I feel that this is all so overwhelming to me. Everyone says that I will get used to it with time and I know time helps most things, but is there anything else I can do to help myself and in turn help him? Iíd really appreciate your views, the firefighter views, from those of you who have gone through this. Do you have any ideas or helpful tips from personal experience to help me and my family adjust to all these changes?
PS - One more question, I'm looking for a special graduation gift. Any ideas of something pretty special as he has worked so hard for this?
Thanks so much!
Last edited by AzFFwife; 06-11-2007 at 04:08 PM.
06-11-2007, 06:06 PM #2
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
My wife never had the feelings you do but the problems have always revolve around communication. You need to keep in mind many, many firefighters are type A personalities and are not very open with their emotions, so you may need to initiate the conversation with him. Try to let him know how you feel in a non-confrontational way and that you aren't against him being a firefighter, you just have these concerns and you're looking for some reassuance. It may be difficult for him to talk about it, as I said, type A firefighters usually aren't good at that and it's not common for guys to talk like that around the station with each other either, so you may need to give him some time to get used to it and approach it a few times and in different ways. I understand your concern, the fire station is a home away from home for every firefighter, and we're all family (so welcome to the family!) If he ever gets so involved with it that you become #2, then you need to nicely talk to him about it. Guys that are type A personalities enjoy achievement and it makes them feel beneficial to society and in life, so more than likely that would be the reason he'd get that involved.
My in-laws framed the different pages of my graduation ceremony in a multy-sectioned frame, I thought that was pretty cool.
Hope that helps.
06-11-2007, 06:22 PM #3
- Join Date
- Jun 2007
Definitely, thanks. That is what I was hoping for is some insight. I do believe we have good communication, but I know he is having a hard time understanding why Iím feeling this way when he has been trying for this for so long, and so am I truthfully, but I want to educate myself and do what I can to understand his side too and firefighters/firefighting in general.
That is a great gift idea!
06-11-2007, 09:26 PM #4
Don't dwell on it, I know that it doesn't help and could hurt your relationship. I've seen it happen before.
One other word of advice, don't go watch him at work. What I mean is, it's OK to visit, but don't go on calls with him. My wife did it one time and never did it again because it scared her to death watching me run into a burning building. It was much more scary to her to see it happen than to just be told about it.
The missing part is unfortunately something that you will have to deal with in your own way. Just keep in touch, it's much easier to do these days with cell phones, computers and text messaging.
I remember when I first started in the Fire Service. My great wife understood that it was important to me, and I'm sure she felt like she was #2 in my life for a while. That never was the case, as I'm sure you won't be #2 in your husband's eyes. He will be busy trying to get through probation and trying to accelerate the learning curve, so at times he may seem a bit distracted. Things will get better as time goes on.
I'd like to help you out on what he might like for a graduation gift, but honestly, you probably know him better than anyone. I'm sure whatever you do for him he'll love.
Good Luck to you, it is a different and exciting journey you're about to start.
06-11-2007, 11:19 PM #5
First and foremost, you are not #2. Never, ever think that you are.
The love your husband has for this job and the love he has for you are, and always will be completely separate. Please try not to confuse the two. They are obviously different, and neither one has to take away anything from the other.
Becoming a firefighter, for most men is a life-long dream that they have had since childhood, just as it was for me. Even before most boys ever looked twice at a girl, they were already head-over-heels in love with the idea of becoming a fireman.
There is, as you are by now well aware, a huge commitment of time and energy that goes into becoming a firefighter...Not just from him, but from you also. It is a huge sacrifice for any spouse to make. Your support of him in his pursuit if his dream means a great deal to him, even if he may not actually come right out and say it.
I'm sure this whole thing is also a little bit scary for you. Your concern for his safety, and wondering how you will deal with him not being home every third day (and night) can cause you a lot of worry, stress and anxiety. All very normal feelings to have. They may never go away completely, but they will become easier to cope with as time passes. I probably worry more about my wife and kids while I'm at work, than they do about me...That's a good thing.
It took my wife (and me too, to be honest) a little time to adjust to the new schedule. Soon however, it became as normal for us as it is for people that work a regular 8-5 job.
I understand it is difficult being the wife of a firefighter. It is for my wife at times also. We just celebrated our 25th anniversary in April. For 17 of those years, she's had to share me with my other love.
I can't even remember what life was really like before I started in the fire service. I really don't think my wife can either. It has simply become the normal routine for us. It eventually will for you also.
Worrying about his safety will be something that will perhaps be a little more difficult to deal with than even his being away from you for 24 hours at a stretch will be.
This too will become easier for you as time passes. You will realize that his training, his good sense and his brother firefighters will keep him safe and bring him home after every shift.
So far as a graduation gift goes. I recommend (if your finances and his department's policy allows) getting him a leather helmet.
Another good gift would be to put together a nicely framed group of some photos, his department patches and an engraved brass plaque with his department name, assignment and hire date.
06-12-2007, 12:31 AM #6
Fireman4949 pretty much summed it up.
A firefighter has two families.. one he/she lives with one he/she works with and both are intertwined. The "work family" is an extensive one... anywhere you find a firehouse, you'll find family.
Welcome to the family!"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
06-12-2007, 02:04 AM #7
- Join Date
- Mar 2006
- Southern California
Welcome to The Family.....
I would like to welcome your family to our family......
As far as being scared...... it's a natural reaction and a justified feeling. Please trust your husband's training and those individuals that have trained him. Our Fire Service has been constantly evolving for years and so has our training. It's getting better and better every year.
Trust me, as far as you being #2..... It'll never happen. As Station75 (Capt) has said he should be very busy this next year or so, however long his Probation is. Please understand....... He's gonna have to learn how his/your Department works, how they pull hose, the Hierarchy (Chain of Command), he'll have numerous tasks/manipulatives that he'll have to study for, local/Department S.O.Gs or S.O.Ps that he's gonna have to know inside and out, he'll be expected to be the first up in the morning and the last to bed at night, on top of that he has details and responsibilities that he'll have to make sure are complete and thorough, the point is he's gonna be bbbuuuusssssyyyyy. So you're not #2, it's just that he may be occupied with other subjects on his mind. The best thing you can do is support him, and understand this. Remember, a small sacrifice now will reward you all with the best job in the world and a career that both of you can be very proud of.
My wife loved coming to the Firehouse and handing out. She is also an EMT, now a Nurse so she got to hone in her skills and help/assist us on calls. If this interests you, then I say go for it. She even got to see us work a few T.Cs, Vegetation Fires and Structure Fires.
Now onto what you can do for a reward...... This week I passed our Captain's Test and my wife did something that was amazing. When I got the call from my Chief, she got on the phone and told everybody...... Yeah, it may seem very simple, but it showed me how proud she was of my accomplishment. Knowing how I am with my wife, whatever you do will be greatly appreciated...... No matter how simple a gesture it may be. If he likes the statues and such (personally and professionally I don't collect 'em, they just go in a closet in my garage) then a statue with a small plaque saying something about how proud you are and how much you love him would also be a great idea. If you wanna go this route, almost anybody here should be able to help you with that.
Well, hope that helps....... If you want any more information or help, don't hesitate to ask this family.
Life on the Truck (Quint) is good.....
Eat til you're sleepy..... Sleep til you're hungry..... And repeat.....
06-12-2007, 05:18 PM #8
- Join Date
- Sep 2006
I just had a retirement party after being a vlounteer for 25 years. My wife went a to a local lawn decoration place we have been to and bought a cement fire hydrant, painted it and took it to the party for all the members to sign. The department gave me a very nice plaque for 25 years of service with the retirement date on it.
Support him in every way you can, my wife became a dispatcher at our station until after our daughter started school so there was lots of support.
I have always told members that they truly have a better chance of getting hit by a drunk than hurt on the job.
06-12-2007, 07:45 PM #9
- Join Date
- Dec 2006
As his wife, why don't you get him a St. Florian Necklace. It would be a nice way for you to give him something to remind him that someone is always looking out for him. I never once wore jewelry until I got on this job and my wife gave me a gold necklace with a St. Florian pendant when I graduated the academy. I thought it was very nice, it's in the shape of a maltese cross. It has a picture of St.Florian on the front and says "Protect Us", and on the back is a personal inscription from her, along with my badge number and department initials. I haven't taken it off since the day it was given to me.
06-12-2007, 10:42 PM #10
My mom gave me a St. Florian pendant as a birthday present several years ago. I wear it always!
This is the one I have...
Last year, I finally took the plunge and got a really nice St. Florian tattoo on my upper arm as well.
06-13-2007, 11:16 AM #11
- Join Date
- Jun 2007
I really do appreciate the warm welcome, responses, and advice. Keep it coming as I have so much to learn. It is very helpful to get firefighters' thoughts and opinions. I have decided on the graduation gift, but just in case he reads this I'm not going to say til later.
Thanks again. I really do appreciate you taking the time to help me.
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