Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Life of a Firefighter Wife

Now I don't expect anyone to understand, so just know I am merely venting. I know I do have some readers that will be able to sympathize as they too are married to a firefighter ("ff") or a cop or military personnel. I will have others who can imagine themselves in my shoes and can probably relate. I will then have the others that will tell me to suck it up and get over it! :) LOL!

But today...and actually lately...I miss my husband. It's not like he is gone on a strike team for days on end, but some days it feels like that. He's been working so much lately and it feels like we haven't spent much time together. This week I have been able to spend three whole days with him. Today he is back on shift for another 24 hour run and tomorrow he is teaching for a good portion of the day. I know this is how it is, I married into it. I was with him while he pursued his dream and I was with him when he achieved it. I was initiated into this, just like he was, but on the side of a spouse. I know it's hard on him to be away from us too and I am not asking him to change his career or even fix this situation, all I am saying is I miss him. I think I am allowed to do that from time to time, right?

Some days I can't WAIT for him to go back on shift! I look forward to two days of sleeping in the middle of the bed at night with no background noise coming from his nose! I look forward to lounging in my pjs all day long if I feel like it! I look forward to giving myself a facial and walking around in a green mask on my face without the humiliation of him having to see it and laugh at me! LOL! I look forward to watching anything and everything I want on tv without comments of how reality tv is lame. But then, there are days I hate it. Like today.

I think the spouse of a ff looks at the backside of a front door differently than the spouse of those in different professions, with the exception of Police and Military. I think we look at the door wondering if today is the day, that our ff does not come home. Our ffs work odd hours, in our department it is 2 days on, 4 days off. Sure, most people think the 4 days off is heaven, but with us, especially lately, the 4 days off are more like 2.5.

The past two years he has worked every single holiday. That means Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th of July, New Years Eve, etc. Which means, for the past 2 years, I have been alone on those holidays. Sure, we celebrate on a different day, but while the entire world is celebrating ON that day, I don't get to experience that with my husband, and I want to. It breaks my heart he isn't always here to see Emily's "firsts". Sure, he sees it when he gets home and I do my best to video tape when I can, but it isn't the same as being here. He was gone on her first Christmas morning and will be again this year when she might just get it a little more. Sure, we'll celebrate on a different day...after all, Santa does special deliveries when daddy's (or mommy's) have to work on Christmas Eve/Day...but it isn't the same.

So today, I think I can feel lonely. Today, I think it should be okay for me to miss him. For today, I think I can dislike being a FFW (firefighter's wife). Please don't tell me "he makes good money so get over it" when you see your spouse every single day and get to sleep next to him/her every single night. Please don't tell me "it's no big deal" when the most you have been away from your spouse is between the hours of 8-5. And please don't tell me "it's not that bad" when you don't worry about your spouse walking out the door and never coming back home. I have been told all those things from various people who thrive on being able to see their spouses every night. I know they are just trying to help me get through the hard times. still hurts just the same. And I know Erik will do everything in his power to be safe. He is very trained and I trust and love the guys he works with, but you just never quite know what can any of us. So today...I am where I am in feeling like this and I am telling myself it's okay to feel this way today!

Tomorrow...I am sure I'll be over it! :)


Ashley said...

I completely understand and feel for you. I miss Jeff more now that we have Eli. I go to the FD more now then I did before, even though I said that I wouldn't go. But I feel like I have to so Eli can see Daddy. As far as how to handle it, I don't really know what to tell you because I am still trying to figure that out myself. Keep your head up and think as many positive thoughts as possible. I don't watch the news when he is on duty for fear that I may see something. I hope you feel better soon.

Darcie said...

You're right, as a wife to a man who's home every night, I can't relate. But I can tell you that every time he rides his motorcycle to work or takes it out on a long ride on the weekends, I worry. If he's more than five minutes late, I worry. People who don't ride or don't know riders are awful to bikers. They'll intentionally cut them off and try to run them off the road for no reason. I've seen it happen. So it's not nearly the same since Erik's in much more danger more frequently than Rob, but as a chronic worrier about my husband's well-being both on the bike and with his job (a 9,000 lb. forklift nearly fell on him two weeks ago), I can empathize a little.

But believe me, I would never tell you to suck it up and get over it. I couldn't imagine having to live life as a FFW. Lots of hugs to you!! And thanks to Erik!!!!

Wendy said...

I totally, and completely can relate to how you are feeling! I have to say, I love this post. Even though I was a firefighter and still work in the industry, it's hard to be married to a ff. The shifts are crazy. The overtime that comes up unexpectedly is crazy. It can be overwhelming sometimes. I'm glad you were comfortable enough to vent about this.

alison said...

you are never alone! ignore the ignorant with their 'get over it' comments. it wouldn't be normal if you DIDN'T miss him and wish he was around like a 'regular' hubby. *hugs*

Anonymous said...

I hear ya. Our jobs are NOT easy, being wifes to civil servants. It is a difficult life to live, and one that only strong people can handle.

The call backs, strike teams, special assignments they pick up, all of that takes time away from the family. Can you imagine some people you know being able to handle that?

You are 100% right to have bad days - days where you hate his job, hate the separation, and hate having to raise Em on your own for days at a time.

When Adam leaves I always make sure to say "I love you", and "be safe". Because you just never know...

Ann said...

I love your honesty.
Let it fly here Denise!
This is YOUR space!!!!