It’s towards the end of the honeymoon and we’re strolling down Main Street in a little coastal town and browsing in all the shops. The streets are filled with traffic and suddenly, I see my man lift his head, searching the street. I follow his gaze and then I hear it, too. Sirens.
It kind of cracks me up, the reaction to sirens. Have you ever seen the scene in Pixar’s Up? The one where the dogs all go, “SQUIRREL!” and their attention is focused solely on the squirrel no matter what other things were occupying their attention minutes before?
It’s like that with sirens and tones with fire-fighters, I guess. At least it is with my guy.
Married and on our honeymoon. Bliss. Even more bliss? A week of no calls. The pager was put aside and silent all week, but by Friday, I could tell that he’d started to miss it. The tones. The calls. The adrenaline rush. They say that when you’ve been bit by the fire bug, you never lose the love for it.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to get it – I’ve never been bitten by the fire bug and therefore don’t know what it’s like! – and it’s an adjustment for me to live with a call fire-fighter. He’s always been open about his love for fire-fighting, how he feels driven to do what he does. When we were dating, he’d respond to calls even if I was over his parents’ house to spend time with him; both of us agreed that I needed that to see what it would be like. It was just a small taste, however, and now the real adjustment begins.
I’m trying to be positive, supportive and the best fire-wife I can be. As his fiancée, I worried about him in harm’s way, I worried about him being over-exhausted and getting every cold and flu bug (like he did last fall) that seemed to be going around. But – a mere 9 days into our marriage – I know it’s going to be harder as a wife. When we were dating and engaged I didn’t know when he’d go on calls for the most part. Now I get to be there when the tones go off in the middle of the night…not looking forward to the first midnight call, that’s for sure!
Sunday arrived and with it, the end of the honeymoon. The pager was turned back on that morning. They had at least seven calls during the day (busy for a small town), two of which he went on. The seventh and last came through just as we were getting ready for bed. I was overtired, running on about 5 hours sleep from the night before and the only place I wanted my husband was next to me in bed. But…I didn’t let myself think that, much less say it and so I trundled myself out of bed and into the kitchen to give him a kiss goodbye and goodnight.
I know he probably felt torn at that moment, but my man chose to stay home with me.
He gave me a kiss and turning down the pager, climbed into bed with me. He knew I wouldn’t be able to fall sleep with him gone on a call and that I was tired and stressed about returning to work the next day. So he stayed with me. I don’t know if he fully knows how much I felt cherished and loved because of it.
(So what that we both slept horribly in spite of both of us being in bed and no midnight calls, at least I didn’t worry about him!)
So. It’s an adjustment. But, thankfully, we have supportive family and friends nearby and the fire department really seems to encourage and support healthy marriages. A lot of the guys on the department have been married for a long time and have a better track record than other departments; I know a lot of them have encouraged my man as we prepared for our wedding and marriage. I’ve been informed that I’m now a sister in the department family, so yeah, they’re definitely encouraging us to be good spouses to each other.
(I’ll let you know how the first late night call goes on my end – I really need to remind him to get the scanner from his parents’ house so I can listen in on calls!)
Addendum: So, he had his first nearly-midnight fire call last night. It wasn’t so bad, since it wasn’t much of a fire. 😀 Plus, I found the scanner frequency online and was able to listen in.
Oh! And this is what I found in the dining room this morning when I got up:
Um, yup, I’m definitely married to a fire-fighter. 😉