Children of Fire

Children of Fire

*high pitch beeping*
“____________ Fire and Rescue, request for your department. (address) for a structure fire.”
“____________ Rescue, request for your squad. (address) for male not breathing. CPR in progress.” 

The sounds of my childhood. Actually, I’ve been hearing those sounds – the beeping, the voice – since before I was born since both my parents were on our fire department.

Those calls or something similar would come over the pager, and my daddy would jump to answer. Before he left, every time, he would hear my mum; my sister; my brother; and I say, “Be careful. Have fun. I love you.”

His response, depending on how far out the door he was, usually was “yup” or “love you too” or “oh always.”

My mama is an old ER nurse from the days when nurses were actually allowed to put patient care first in their work. Supper conversation usually started with the question, “so did anyone come in for something stupid?” or “did anybody lose a finger?”

Let’s add to that. I wasn’t just raised by a firefighter/EMT and an RN/EMT; I was raised by two strong, Bible-believing Christians. My brother, sister, and I have all claimed Christ Jesus as our Saviour. We do not fear death. Process of dying? No, not looking forward to that part, but death itself is gaining an eternity in heaven.

Death. Trauma. Accidents. All were common discussion in my family. All of us have known that every time that pager goes off, especially for a fire, something could go wrong. Anytime you have a bonfire or get in a car, the rest of the family might hear those tones drop about the same time they get that sinking feeling that something in the family is wrong.

I have never in my entire life told either of my parents or my siblings that I hate them. To my knowledge, neither of my siblings have ever said such a thing. Because, God forbid, that could have been the last thing we ever said to that loved one.

Sure, we might hate the actions of that person. We might hate the feelings we experience that person has invoked in us, but we don’t hate that person.

I know many of our classmates in school and church have told their parents they hate them. They didn’t truly hate them, but the powerful words of “hate” and “love” are thrown around so carelessly in this world, that they didn’t even think about the consequences of that phrase. This morning, the preacher said something along the lines that it was pretty common for him to hear any of daughters say, “I hate you.” I could not stop thinking about that the rest of the message. All I could think about was every time I’ve stayed up listening to the pager to make sure my daddy and the other men got back to the station and signed off the air. Or every time they switched to a fireground channel, leaving me pacing around my bedroom waiting to hear them switch back to the county channel I could hear.

I started wondering how we impart that caution or thoughtfulness that, as far as I know, every Child of a Firefighter (EMT) has with their words. I’m not saying we say the right thing all the time. I regret a lot of what I’ve said. I’ve left my parents house angry at one or both of my parents. I’ve hung up on my sister and my brother because all we were doing was angering each other. Every time though, I’ve sent a text or called them to say that I love them. Every. Single. Time. They write back they love me too.

Johnny Cash has that famous song I Walk the Line. I’ve seen wives and mothers of firefighters and cops have adopted parts of that song to put on shirts and cars and even coffee mugs. It’s a shame that not everyone has that sense of cherish every moment, never let them leave without knowing they are loved obligation that families of emergency workers and military families have.

It doesn’t matter that I’m on the department right there with them. My daddy and my men are mine, so I walk that line. Because I’ve walked that line my entire life, I will never tell someone that I hate them.

 

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Things Not to Tell a Single Lady

I am in my mid-twenties and still single. Let me tell you, there are several that we’re getting tired of hearing.

  1. Your time is not God’s time.
    Clearly, if we’re a Christian, we know this. That doesn’t make it easier. You also don’t know if it’s actually God’s plan for the poor girl to get married. That’s called false assurance and is bad. There are plenty of single women in the Bible.
  2. Maybe God just knows you’re not ready to get married yet. Maybe you have more to learn.
    Thank you for pointing out that everyone else recognizes that my life is currently a wreck, and it’s not just in my head. Here’s the thing. I know I’m not necessarily ready to get married in the fact that I have nothing to bring to the marriage beside more loans. I also know that the chance of me finding a man who actually wants to marry me after less than a year of dating is slim to none, so that gives me a year to get my life in order before I’m paying for a wedding and now taking care of a second human hopefully followed by more mini-humans.
    But, I’ve spent my entire life watching my parents. Whenever one of them had a rough day, as soon as the other got home, they give each other a hug, tell me to shut up and go away for a few minutes so they can talk about their day, my mum would go thunk into my daddy’s chest, and then they would fix it or at the very least be able to hold each other up until they fixed whatever was wrong.
    I want to be able to go home to a husband and go thunk into his chest after a long, troublesome day. Or I want a boyfriend I can call after that day who yes, will probably laugh at me, or be playing a computer game while talking to me, but at least he would be mine to call. Then, being a male, he would probably call me back several hours later with ideas after his one track mind has pondered it a bit more.
  3. You’re young; you’ve got time for a husband and kids.
    How do you know? I don’t know the status of my maternal, biological clock, so how on earth do you? How do you know my dreams? Unless you’re in my family or a close friend or somebody I felt like shocking by telling you I want 6 kids, you don’t know. Yeah, I’m not one of those modern, American women who only want 2 kids; I have wanted to have 6 kiddos of my own my entire life! I also don’t want to be pregnant til I’m 40 and then have no chance of seeing my great grandbabies. I want to have at least one year of my marriage of not being pregnant or with mini-mes crawling around. Unless we’re given twins, I’ve already said good-bye to two of my dream babies.
  4. Keep your standards high!
    Well no kidding. If I was willing to lower my standards, they would have been lowered before the 2 youngest of my 6 imaginary babies vanished, and I’d be married by now. Rough years would probably be ahead, but I’d be married.
  5. Quit looking; when the time is right, he’ll find you.
    Mmmm….I’m not so sure the potential husband of mine is not stuck in a treestand somewhere. While I 100% believe that the man is to be the head of the relationship which includes being the one to ask me out – not vice versa regardless of the times and trends – I also think that giving him a little push, like maybe make him a batch of cookies or something, might be necessary. Put the idea in his head.

So, while I know that most people who are already happily in a relationship or just got out of a relationship and don’t sympathize have these 5 common phrases at the ready for those of us who actually want to get married and have kiddos someday, we’re getting kinda tired of hearing them – especially from ourselves as we try to convince ourselves that no, we’re not going to die alone and leave our nephews/nieces as our heirs.

Think Happy Thoughts

I have not had a dishwasher for about three years now. I complain quite often about that fact. When people say, “oh, we don’t like washing dishes, but it’s not too bad” I tell them it is if you wash dishes by hand.

However. For as much as I complain, I do not think I will get another one – at least not until I have to wash dishes for a husband and our mini-mes.

To start, I know those dishes are clean. With an actual dishwasher, I’m always wondering if those water spots are actually food smeared or if the water just rinsed the yuck off instead of cleaning it.

Today, as I’m getting caught up on over a week of dishes (it’s been a long, long week), I picked up a glass that looked like one of my great-grandma’s glasses. Immediately, I flashed back to washing dishes by hand with her when I would spend the night or weekend with her. We didn’t really talk much while we were washing dishes, unless planning what dessert to make next, but standing next to her as I washed and she dried was enough.

I cannot make a pan of brownies or a batch of cookies without thinking of her telling me to make two – one for her and one for me.

When I do laundry, and have to go downstairs to do so like at her place, I think of her waking up around 0400 to beat me to doing her laundry when I was there to help her. She was easily one of the most sneaky and stubborn women I have ever had the pleasure to meet, and as a private medical transport EMT for 3.5 years, I met plenty.

For whatever reason though, it’s always when I’m doing the dishes that I miss her the most.

I was house-sitting and ran out of dish soap one time. I ran to the store and grabbed a small bottle of something relatively cheap but knew worked. I never remember what brand of soap she had for dishes until I open it. When I got back to the house and put it on the washcloth, I ended up sliding down the cupboards to the floor and just sat there crying because I missed her. It was the same soap.

When I sat down to write this, I wondered for a moment why it was hitting me so hard today. Looking at the calendar, I realize her 100th birthday would be in about a month. and in 9 days will make 6 years since she went home to God and our family gone before her.

I drive by her house sometimes. There’s a family living there. How? I don’t know because it was a one bedroom place, but there are kids toys. That may mean there is another grandma or great-grandma living there, washing dishes by hand with and telling stories to her grandbabies – memories to last a lifetime.