As I am typing my husband is on his way home from his last drive of his almost 7 hour commute. To recap a little he took a permanent engineer spot just barely over 2 years ago and we both knew it was going to be a journey. The year before he accepted this position he was doing a LT spot a little over 4 1/2 hours away. Needless to say it has been a long hard and well worth it, 3 years.
This last February he got the phone call and was offered an engineer position in our hometown. I cannot explain the emotions that we both felt when he got that call. If you have been following along with me there has definitely been some stretching and growing pains. Our weaknesses were magnified and from that our strengths only grew. He was leaving in the middle of the day before his shift and getting home the evening when he ended his shift. For those who don’t know Cal Fire works 72 hours straight, no breaks. My husband was doing 96 hours a week. 24 hours of it unpaid and over half of that 24 was driving. And sometimes much more. I am so looking forward to getting that extra 24 hours back. And not only that but those days when my girls are having a understandably I miss daddy moment, we can drive 20 minutes to go see him at the station. Financially this will also be such a nice change.
My husband and I have talked about how we couldn’t have done this without one another. But it goes beyond that. Yes, we put our heads down and did what needed to be done. But I know for us it was also, the love and support from family and friends. And the crew my husband had the privilege of working with. I know he made some forever friends. They will probably never know the admiration and appreciation I have for them. They were always the light at the end of the long commute tunnel for him. I loved hearing all the stories and shared brotherhood. And one other thing is for certain, I know we couldn’t have gone through the past two err three years without our faith in God. Our driving force giving us the strength we needed for each new day.
So, with all that said I would also like to say, WELCOME HOME to my husband. I am so proud of you!
Our fire life story isn’t over (obviously) only a new chapter has begun. I have some new ideas brewing for this blog. So stay tuned as I work on those. And if you’re in a similar situation as what we went through or can relate one way or another to us, know the reward is so worth it if you don’t lose heart!
We have all probably heard of kids going through different regression. When they start using the potty and all of a sudden they don’t want anything to do with it. They just revert back to a time where they were getting that extra attention for something. I believe they subconsciously are trying to let you know they may not be comfortable or agree with the situation they’re going through. And don’t know quite yet how to define what they’re feeling so they regress. At least that’s my understanding of it.
I noticed this is starting to happen with my almost two-year old and also happened when my almost five-year old was around that age. The difference is I went through it before so I am able to recognize it a little faster this time. But each child is so different I haven’t quite figured out YET how to help. Now that my daughter is starting to understand wait dad hasn’t been home a while she’s starting to show the signs of what I am now calling “daddy regression”. When my husbands schedule gets a little off track it can mess with all of our emotions and ware on us all. He’s gone a long time then he is home then gone and then home. He ,at have vacation time and then he is gone. No wonder a child would get frustrated about that. This last time he was home she didn’t want him holding her or picking her up. It was a little frustrating for him and I because he would try to be helpful and let me sleep in or try to pick her up so I could finish dinner or whatever. She straight out refused him and would cry and scream until he gave up. It’s like this gray area of development where they know what they’re feeling but can’t put it into words so they regress or act out. I want so badly for him to have that quality time with her and snuggles and love while he is home so it makes me sad to see him being totally rejected. But I also get what she is going through too. She is mad at the situation, therefore she takes it out on him and only wants what she knows. And that’s mom.
It’s definitely one of the harder things about being a fire wife. We cannot change schedules or make him be home more so she can learn it’s okay again to want and go to daddy. I know this phase of life will pass and in the future it will be something we look back at and probably laugh at how mean she was. And she’ll probably end up being a huge daddy’s girl. For now though it isn’t fun and it is hard. Emotionally and physically hard. Time is precious when our firemen are home and we try to make the most of it. And that’s what we will continue to do. She will eventually understand that this is part of our life. And until then she is just learning to be fire kid strong.
Sitting here New Years Eve and reminiscing on the year that has flashed by. My children are already sleeping and like a lot of other fire wives am sitting at home while my husband is at work. Hoping that people are on their best behavior so my husband isn’t having to see yet another devastating night. The only difference for me is that this time I am looking to the next year with a heart filled with hope and excitement.
The last two years have been this crazy and testing. It is almost unreal that this next year my husband will be able to officially put his transfer in to come back home. December 2015 I was nine months pregnant and just laid off my current job. My husband was also laid off because he was seasonal. He had his interview for a permanent engineer position a week before we had our second baby. And only a few weeks after that he got the official phone call that he would soon be starting his new permanent job 6 1/2 hours away. This was something that we had knew was a big possibility and had talked it through before accepting this offer. We at first decided to put our house on the market to move down there because it was so far from home. But doors opened and we ended still selling but buying our dream home and staying in our little hometown we love so much. It was a super rough transition but we have made it work.
I look at 2018 as something to look forward to and cannot be more excited and filled with hope for. Tonight I look back at what we have come through and know what we can make it through going forward. These past years have gone by in the blink of an eye but they definitely were not without their challenges. I look forward to an extra night with my husband home, another full day to make memories. I also look forward to a little extra money because that kind of commute is not without its expenses. I look forward to the blog where I get to say my husbands transfer is official! haha With that said, I do not know what this next year holds for you but do not let go of that hope, strength and promise that there are better days ahead and that some day you may look back and think, “wow, I made it when I thought I couldn’t”. Don’t give up friends. And have a safe and Happy New Year!!!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future…” ~ Jeremiah 29:11
I get asked a lot how I handle my husband being gone all the time. My usual response is, “I just do.” There are times when it is easier to handle but there are also times when it’s hard. And for me there isn’t a rhyme or reason to which days are hard. Some days are just that…hard.
Sometimes the missing him comes in waves when he is working and sometimes it hangs out for the day. It mostly hits at night when the girls are fast asleep and I realize I am alone and the pillow next to me is empty. And sometimes it hits in the middle of the day when I wish he could be at home enjoying the little things like shared giggles, silly questions, and I really miss him during the melt downs and tantrums. Sometimes I get frustrated and not at him but just the plain fact that he isn’t there for moments I feel he should be.
With holidays amongst us it can make life a little more hard to handle. Last year was the first Christmas I experienced without him and of course it was emotional and ended up being much harder than it should have. And of course when you’re a fire family you learn to move those celebrations to another day. But it still doesn’t make it easy. This year I am so thankful that he is “supposed” to be home. And I am praying it will really happen.
So I guess this is where I come in with a positive and here is what I have…
Despite the missing him and emotions that come along with that I also realize, I am very fortunate to have a husband who misses me just as much. A husband who loves his family and cannot wait to come home and be with the girls and I. A husband who is doing a career with all the integrity a man can muster. And through it all I would be crazy not to miss that kind of man. So with Thanksgiving this week one of the things I am most thankful for is my Fireman, husband, father to my girls and my best friend.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
We all have our days, weeks, months and maybe years where life just seems to not really like you. Then there’s the times where life has never been better. I believe it’s not just our actions but how we respond to those times that shows our character.
So, here I am again with the hubby gone, me and the girls are all sick. Am I the only fire wife/or wife in general that’s family gets sick as soon as their husbands walk out the door? Ha! But seriously. It’s like as if it wasn’t hard enough to watch him walk out the door and not see him for who knows how long. It’s times like these when I need to dig deep and find the things that really matter. I go through some of the pity party moments and there are times when those things in life just really get the best of me.
One of my worst moments has taught me the most valuable lesson of all. A little over two years ago I was pregnant with my second daughter. I had just got in my second trimester and started to bleed. I had partial placenta abruption and was on bed rest. During this time my first daughter was two and I was working part-time as well. I was put on bed rest for a month. My husband was working overtime. Fighting fires. And even though I had family and friends around I had just wanted everything to be okay. I didn’t want to need anyone or anything. I just wanted a healthy baby! And my husband home. It was the most depressing and scariest moments of my life. I doubted my faith but asked for prayers anyways. I knew though I had to trust whatever happened we would somehow get through it. I had to look for that silver lining. My husband was a great support for that. He was strong for me and carried me. When we went in for that follow-up ultra sound to see how everything looked even the ultra sound tech was blown away. She kept saying I cannot believe these are the same placenta. There was a clear tear in the first ultrasound but in what she had in front of her showed none of that. No tear and a perfect placenta and healthy baby. Through my doubt I still got that miracle.
From that moment I took it as a lesson. To look for the good in every season I am in. Find something to be thankful for even when it may not seem like I can. There are times when yes, it’s easier said then done. But I promise you it helps.
So back to the now, with a kid who has bronchitis, a baby with a fever and a mom with a cold. And let’s not forget the Fire Hubby who just informed me of more overtime. I know exactly what I am thankful for. I am alive. I am so thankful that I have two amazing and beautiful girls, I have friends and family who are here for me, I have a home, and I have a husband who loves me and loves his family. And even though has a career that isn’t “ideal” I can be proud of him and what he does.
…give thanks in all circumstances. -1 Thessalonians 5:18
So I am going to go ahead and give a pre warning for this post…you may or may not cry…take a moment and get a tissue or don’t, your choice to continue reading… Your choice. But you have been officially warned.
Tonight. My four year old opened my eyes. And it wasn’t until even after that I realized how much my daily choices and time mean to her. Today, was actually a really good day we had lots of fun and giggles. But, my husband is on his 10th day gone with hopes of coming home tomorrow. When he is gone it has kind of become a normal dialogue between my four year old and I, when it comes to her missing her daddy. It goes a little like this…
“Mom…” “Yes, Dylann?” “Ummm I miss (insert any name but daddy)” I sigh a little “I am sorry sweetie.” I look at her and watch her eyes. I can see a certain sadness behind them that tells me who she is really missing. I haven’t figured out yet why she doesn’t really start off and say it’s her daddy who she is missing. That part I have pondered in my head a hundred times. Do I scare her being so “tough or strong”, is she putting on a front for me? Does she even understand what she is feeling? Or know how to communicate it? I mean she is four. These are the things I think about. Sometimes I will try to press a little deeper but I never want to push her but I try to comfort and let her know I am there. And sometimes she does actually say it. When this happens I try to be a little bit more sensitive because I know it took a lot for her to actually say who she was missing. And I have noticed more and more she is starting to just that.
When I laid her down for bed tonight she looks up at me and says “Mom, I miss daddy.” My response, “Awe, Sweetie I am sorry, I miss him too.” She seems to have accepted my answer and so we continue her bed time routine. By the time I get both girls to bed I am so ready to sit down and relax, and tonight I didn’t even have the chance to eat my own dinner yet. I needed a shower and get things ready for the next day. But, It was only about five minutes maybe ten I hear a little whimper from her bedroom. My heart just breaks. I walk in her room and say “You okay?” “I just really miss dad.” she starts to cry with tears streaming down her face and I am at a loss. Some nights when this happens especially on days when I am wearing really thin I admit, I will try to fix it real quick, repeat the conversation of I miss him too above and maybe mention you just need some sleep. And try to hurry it up cause I am exhausted and need so desperately to sit down for a moment. But tonight…the realization of her feelings hit me like a ton of bricks! She was really MISSING HER DADDY!!! So, I crawled into her bed and cuddled up next to her and I let her know that I was missing him too and that I would cuddle with her a little while. We looked at fun toys on my phone and talked about which ones we liked and ones that were just silly. After about thirty minutes I told her that I loved her and that there was a chance daddy could be coming home. (truth I wouldn’t just say that) I didn’t want to get her hopes up too much so I said we wont know until the morning for sure. But it was enough for her. I slipped out and within minutes she was asleep.
The realization of how caught up I can be sometimes with how tired I am, or how much I just need my moment to relax and unload. All these things are very valid cause it is a lot of work being two parents at the same time. And I too have the same feelings that this little girl is feeling. I miss her daddy. But I started to think about the future when she would understand a little more. What would she think about when she looked back. Maybe mom never understood how I was feeling or maybe she doesn’t want to hear what I have to say she doesn’t have the time. As a mom this thought mortified me and I realized I want her memories to be more like what happened tonight. When she looks back I want her to think when I am having a hard day no matter what my mom is doing or feeling she will put it aside, cuddle up next to me, make me smile, laugh and be there because that is what she has always done. So, from tonight on I am going to work hard I mean real hard on being that mom. Because this realization has hit me so hard. That’s who I was designed to be for my little girls no matter the cost I will lay my life down just to make her feel joy and love.
The last year has been a crazy whirlwind of things. I have started a few new journeys that I never thought I would see myself doing. And some of those journeys are all I ever dreamt about. But I have found that these journeys are helping to rebirth new love for life. It’s as if I am rediscovering the things that make me feel alive and bring me joy. I am discovering who I am again as an individual, as a fire wife, as a mother, and friend
The first journey that has taught me the most about life are my children. My two girls keep me on my toes and keep me questioning if I really know what I am doing. ha! My second daughter I thought would be easy. I know what I am doing…right? WRONG! She couldn’t be the more opposite of my first daughter. But looking back I only see how much I have learned and how much I love my girls even if I have days where I am winging it. I am one of the crazy moms who loves spending every day with my girls even when it’s hard. Taking breaks are really hard for me because I love spending my time with them and as crazy as it sounds I cant think clearly without them around. Like when I go to the grocery store without them I pretty much guaranty to forget half of what I went there for. They give me purpose and make me have a passion to be my best self. My children are my greatest joy.
There are two journeys this year I never would have seen myself doing. The first is this blog. I never was into reading other people’s blogs and I don’t even keep a journal. But ever since I started it has felt so right. I found a voice I didn’t know I had. And my hope is to be able to be a light to people and help other fire wives be encouraged. The second is my essential oil business. I was never one who really liked taking anything as far as medication goes. I would tough it out as long as I could before taking a Tylenol. I had a tough year physically after my second child was born. One of my dearest friends came over and we talked about essential oils. I wasn’t sure about them but a lot of friends I knew used them so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try. I started to use them and started noticing little things here and there at first and thought wow that really works. So naturally I started sharing with everyone I love and watched as their lives have been transformed as well.
Lastly the ranch we moved to a little less then a year ago has been a huge blessing I can’t even begin to describe. Every day when I look out over my 2 1/2 acres I can’t help but be filled with a thankful heart. It has made a world of difference in my families life. It has given us purpose and drive. I love all the wildlife and all the different plants that bloom every season. The learning how to take care of it all. I love watching my girls fall in love with nature and watching through their eyes full of wonder. We have so much more work to do but it’s a journey I have loved being on.
The journeys I chose to write about today are the ones who have helped me the most in discovering who I am. I am someone who loves to help others. To teach whether it be my children, friends or family. I love to be out in nature and have a reason to get my hands dirty. All these things are journeys that may or may not have been intentional when starting them but I have loved every step along the way. These journeys are what gives me purpose when my husband is away but they also give me great joy and delight to share with him when he is home. I encourage you to find those things that help you discover who you are. It may not be what you pictured but sometimes they turn out to be the best surprises.
Sometimes being apart can be rough. Even more so when there are children in the picture. When I am at the home front trying to take care of all the big and small things everything can get a little overwhelming. Sometimes there is bound to be conflict and disagreements. I am the type of person who likes to resolve things face to face. At the same time I also need time to work through my emotions, get a hold of logic, and what really matters. Usually when couples have a disagreement they’re with each other to figure it out and resolve it. But what about being apart?
It is such a hard thing as a firefighter’s wife when he is hours, miles and days away to get in an argument. It is more of a struggle to resolve the issue and not being able to have him here tangible, to cry on or hug just plain sucks. So I have had to learn to let my emotions go a little quicker and try to understand the bigger picture of what really matters. Is the argument really worth it? Am I overreacting? What really is the root cause? Sometimes in all honesty the not being able to talk helps with getting through that thought process and pushing out the negative emotions. But it’s also hard when there isn’t much time to talk about it. He is working and any second a tone can drop and in the middle of talking about things he could have to go.
It takes a lot of strength and a will power to easily forgive and let go. To not l et the frustration win and let your emotions rule. Sometimes it’s easier said then done. Especially when the reason for the argument is valid. Trying to find that common ground as fast as possible is key. Letting the love for your spouse be what’s important. You’re both doing important jobs and recognizing that it all isn’t just on one person. Be a team. Work through it together. Stay humble. FORGIVE. Work towards getting to see them and letting that time be used to enjoying them and making memories. Let your LOVE be GREATER THAN the DISTANCE.
“The Pain of a Parting is Nothing to the Joy of Meeting Again.”
It’s that time of year again. The time of year that when most families are planning their vacations, my family is avoiding making any type of plans at all. It’s the worst when you have something exciting planned and get the phone call that, yup they are stuck at work. For how long? Who knows? Sometimes I can roll with the punches but other times the disappointment is overwhelming. And having to break the news to my little girls makes me nauseous. I have learned not to hold my breath until I get the phone call that my husband is in the car driving home. But those are the best phone calls. When I get to turn to my girls and say “daddy is on his way home”. The sparkle in their eyes and the giddy giggles of joy is the best!
Each year is a little different as my girls start understanding more and more about what it is that daddy does. This season I have a little dread and am a little nervous because my husband’s station isn’t exactly right around the corner. We can’t just pick up and go visit him if he’s been gone a long time. It will be for sure be a test on all of our emotions and strength. It’s time to start preparing and having those talks with my girls on what to expect. And shift my own perspective to what my role looks like and who I need to be for my family. Whether we like it or not fire season is among us. A lot more time will be spent in prayer. It’s there I know I will be drawing a lot of strength. It’s there talking to God where I become fire ready.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine…When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God…”
Isaiah 43:1-3 NIV
Time for a little bit of the hard truth, my truth. The things I don’t usually ever say at least out loud. Because I don’t ever like to appear weak or taken the wrong way… so here we go!
Sometimes I hate my husbands job. And maybe it’s not so much of the job as it is the fact he’s always gone. Missing the things he shouldn’t have to miss. Sometimes I want to just be selfish and be the only thing he has to spend his time on. Every once in a while it’s hard to see couples who get to have their spouse home every night and complains about it!
I hate when people say “that’s not that bad” when I am asked about how many days my husband is gone. It doesn’t make me feel better. In actually makes me feel worse. Like I am being brushed off or what I may be going through is instantly excused because “it’s not that bad.”
I am a happy person who 99% of the time posts only happy things. I’m not pretending to be perfect or trying to make my life seem like I have it all together. I choose to focus on the good and let that be what my life is about. Spreading joy and living in a state of thankfulness of what God has given me. It’s too easy to look back remember only negative things so why not change that outlook?! I don’t want my girls to be raised by a negative Nancy who whines and complains when something gets tough.
I care about what people think more then I should. And more so the people who are closer to me. I can’t help myself. I am a people pleaser and it’s something I am working on. It’s probably why it took me a good couple of months to even pull the trigger on this blog. I have been trying to change that and focus on pleasing God not people.
So, pretty much the purpose of all this is to reveal some of my flaws, to show yes I have things I am working on. I am human despite my beliefs and despite what people think. And even with these “confessions” or “truths” I STILL LOVE MY LIFE!!! I love being married to my husband, being a mother to my girls, and having the friends I have. I love what God has given to me and I consider it all JOY!!! So whatever may be your struggle or your truths find the good in it don’t be afraid to be honest and don’t be afraid to love the life you’re given!!!