Friday, April 9, 2010

Letters to Dad


My 3 year old son and 5 year old daughter wake up every morning and come running into our room. They snuggle up under the covers and bury their cold toes in the crooks of my knees, giving me the false hope that they're tired and might let me rest for a little while longer. My son puts his nose about an inch away from mine, looks at me with his big brown eyes peeking under his blond hair, and sighs happily. My daughter lays on the other side, doing the exact same thing, with sharp elbows and knees everywhere I turn. I love that moment. But the sun blaring in through our East facing windows always seems to energize them before I'm ready.

Inevitably, the first question is, "Where's Daddy?"

Even if he's laying in an impressively unresponsive lump next to me, sleeping through all child-produced noises and jabs, they take the easy route and just ask me instead of actually looking. (Hmmm... sounds like a firefighter I know. *cough* *cough*) Really though, I don't mind the question, it's part of our routine. Half of the time they wake up, Daddy's not home. They're too young to understand the complexities of a modified Kelly 9-day schedule. They never know if he's coming, or going, or already gone. Heck, neither do I!

"He's not here today, he's at work."

"At the fire station?" my daughter asks.

"On the fire truck?" my son asks.

"Yes. Yes."

"Ooooh! Fire truck!" my three year old says as he yanks the covers off, expelling the warm pocket of air I was hiding in. "No," corrects his learned sister, "it's a fire ENGINE. Not a truck. It doesn't have LADDERS."

After we've sorted out whether dad's home or not, correct fire vehicle terminology, and who bonked whom first, the jumping, giggling, and "I want something to eat" begins. That part's the same, no matter what day it is.

They're equally excited on the days he's home as they are on the days that he gets to ride in the cool fire engine.

I'm thankful for that.

Their dad is gone a lot, and there really isn't a predictability to it, so I'm glad that our morning routine makes the irregular, regular.

My daughter has become a little more sensitive to him coming and going. She has developed her own way to cope with his schedule. One evening, she asked for a photograph of him. I printed an image of her dad for her, and she carefully cut it out and placed it in her purse next to a picture she drew of him.


She asks for paper and envelopes to write letters and draw pictures before she goes to bed.

Yesterday, she came out of her room with this:


(I'd share what's inside, but I don't know yet; it's sitting in the mail box right now, per her directions.)

"Did I do it? Did I spell all the words right?"

"Almost, kiddo. You did a great job!"

"...Well, which ones did I spell wrong?" I didn't have the heart to show her all of the letters that were mistakenly included or excluded, so I showed her just two. She took the correction well and still seemed proud of herself.

I can't get over how emotionally capable, loving, sincere, and just plain awesome children are! I wish I dealt with the absences as well as the children do — my way of coping usually involves ice cream, Netflix, and late nights on the computer.

(Note that I am writing this post at 2 a.m.)

(I never seem to notice the wind knocking the leaves around, except on the nights when he's gone.)


Tori said...

Found you through the Ultimate Blog Party. Nice to meet you! :)

Jen at Cabin Fever said...

That's so awesome. I feel like you are going through experiences in life that I hope to a couple years from now and its great to see that a family can be so close and happy while their husband does what he loves!

Our Crazy Crew said...

I found myself staying up SO late the nights my hubby was gone on shift. I hate going to bed alone and 11 years hasn't really helped. I just try and make that me time and remember it just means we had cereal or chicken nuggets and I didn't have to only solace. I don't think it will ever make up for my best bud being away but we LOVE mornings at our house...we have the same snuggle time!

Shari said...

We too have that routine in the AM as to "Is dad home today?" And I agree that even I have to think about it sometimes. Having these routines does make it a little easier.

- Shari

Fruitful Vine2 said...

Hi Katie,

Routines are a great way to provide stability in the life of children giving them a sense of security. Thanks for becoming a follower of my blog. I've added your blog to the followers blogroll. Did you sign up for your free ebook?

Sandy said...

Married to one of our Heroes are you,, thats a good thing... following you from UBP 10 and wishing a Happy Day to you!

Brimful Curiosities said...

The firefighters around here have been quite busy this last week...we have a volunteer fire department, so that means a lot of missed work. I read through some of your posts and enjoyed them very much. Our children are similar ages.

Shelly said...

Found you from UBP and I love the way you write. I really enjoyed reading your perspective about a Daddy that is gone a lot, especially considering how I can completely relate. My children are too young to understand "he's at work" to that can get a little hard sometimes. I just became a follower too.

Mrs. B said...

Hi! Nice to meet you, I'm Mrs B!

Jen @ Happy LIttle Homemaker said...

Hello from UBP! Have a great weekend! You're doing a great job with the little's too!

Firefighter/Paramedic said...

For the record, my 3 year old is right. I work on a fire truck with a 75' aerial ladder. I used to work on an Engine.

Inside the envelope was a drawing of my daughter and me all dressed up ready to go to church. I love her notes.

Brooke Lorren said...

Cute story. I found you from the blog party. My dad used to be a volunteer firefighter. He retired after 20 years of volunteering, I think.

Dayngr said...

Pretty impressive writing for a 3 year old! This is my first time visiting. I surfed over from 5 Minutes for Mom. Looking forward to getting to reading more as we go. My party post can be found at "Ultimate Blog Party 2010 at Dayngrous Discourse.

Lindsey said...

I love this story, kids can be so great at keeping our minds off of our deployed husbands. I don't know if my boys will ever know how much they helped me get through the long lonely months. Anyway, thanks for following me and I'm now following you. Can't wait to read more.

Emily said...

Hi Katie! Thanks for stopping by my blog! God bless you and your family! I look forward to reading more about you and your family!

Jaime said...

Thanks for stopping by! What a great morning routine even if it isn't the most pleasant thing to wake up to! My 2 year old loves "fi tuck"s ever since the neighbor had to call them for a fire. They let him sit inside and sit on the bumper. He loved it and screams every time we drive near the station. Then blows kisses when we pass it. So very cute! I am following you now! I look forward to learning more from you!!

Christina said...

Thanks for stopping by Pooh's Corner today for the UBP. Nice to meet you. You blog is great, I can't wait to start reading more of your posts.

Bless you and your family!

Christine said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog, A Mama Stork Knows! That would be so crazy to have a husband whose schedule is so irregular like that! You're so strong for you and the kids. I'd be up on the computer a lot too. :) I look forward to getting to know you and your family better now that I've found your blog.

Hydrant girl said...

This post brought tears to my eyes - it's reading moments like this that make me realize exactly what I'm missing out on by not being able to have kids. Enjoy the moments!

Fire Wife Katie said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone! I'm off to check out your blogs, if I haven't already done so. I'm so excited I happened to stumble upon the UBP community. I've had a lot of fun with this!

Hydrant girl, now you're going to make ME cry! Sending you a big hug! I wish I had the power to make good things happen for all of the people out there who truly deserve it -- and you deserve it!

Nanette ~ A Mom Blog said...

Oh what an adorable post. I'm glad I stopped by from the UBP 2010. Just wanted to say Hi :)

jamaise said...

What great writing. You captured the beautiful "in bed" moment perfectly. Made my heart happy :)
Thank you for stopping at Wishing Penny & have fun at the party!

Tasha, The Stamping Lady said...

My husband works a rotating 12-hour shift at an oil refinery. Other than the fact that I know the shift schedule (which is crazy) my life is similar in that I am the one responsible for giving our 3 kids routine. My oldest is 13 and he still has to ask at least 3 times a week "is Dad on night/day shift?" They never know how many plates to set at the table without asking.

Wow! I'm bumming myself out! The good part is he really likes his job and with that crazy schedule he does get 8 days of in a row each month. Sorry to ramble on YOUR blog! Nice to meet you through the UBP! You're welcome to visit my blog anytime and fill up the comment section. ;)

kristy said...

Beautifully written! Im your new follower! I think its amazing that your a strong, supportive firemans wife. Cant wait to read more. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

DarcyLee said...

What a talented writer you are. The pictures you made with your words had me right there in the room with you. Can't wait to read more. Thanks for visiting my blog. Being a mom and wife can be hard but it looks like you are doing it exactly right. I've subscribed to your posts.

NavyBride said...

Stopping by from UBP.

Lovely post. Beautifully written. Thanks for the peek into your world.

The Boob Nazi said...

I saw that you're in Northern California... I'm from Northern California! I miss it a lot. Sigh.

Frugalistic Mama said...

Thanx for following, I came by to share some UBP love and found myself in tears because I deal with the same situations daily. My favorite saying is that "if you think being a Firefighter is hard, try being a Firefighters wife"
I am so glad that we have found each other Thank God for UBP!!!

Tori said...

Thanks for the compliment on my blog. I was beginning to wonder if it was too busy, and if I should change the layout. LOL!

Wendy said...

Hi Katie! (I have always loved the name Katie:)
I'm following you back from the UBP, and really enjoyed reading your posts. I especially loved your birth story. But I loved them all. Great warmth, sense of humor, able to laugh at self, happy kids, sees life from good "feet-on-the-ground" seem a very "likeable" person. I also love your baby's smile. I wish I had your talent for remembering details, and writing descriptive phrases! So, new friend, I will be back. Oh, and I always pray for my followers, so I will be praying for you with your firefighter hubby (why is it that the sound of the wind moving the branches never bothers me when my husband's home, either? and I feel the need to lock all the doors in my extremely safe cul-de-sac??)
Faith's Firm Foundation

Brandy said...

Wow....what a heart felt story. My little one always asks for daddy every morning...sometimes he is in bed and sometimes he has already left for work. She usually tells me "I want him"...I always say "Me too! Just stopping by for the party. I am now following. Thanks for stopping by

aimymichelle said...

stopping through from the party! i'm now a follower!

Rachel C said...

Wow, you just wrote about my life! except i've for 3 little ones - can't wait to read more of your blog :)

Fire Wife Katie said...

Rachel, I have three as well - the baby is usually sleeping when the other two come wake me up, so he wasn't in the story. I'm sure he'll be part of the morning routine too in a year or so! :)

Beeb said...

What a sweet post. Nice to meet you through UBP, thanks for stopping by my blog! :)

supercoupongirl AT

Carrie said...

What a creative party post! You have quite a gift for writing!

I just spent some time looking around - you take great pictures! I'll be following along ... can't wait to see more! ;)

Michele @ Frugal Granola said...

How sweet! :) We have a lot of mornings like that too (and the baby usually gets woken up!) :)


Jana (sidetrack'd) said...

That is so sweet! Thank you to your husband (and your family) for his service to the community.

Thanks for stopping by sidetrack'd. Hope to see you again!

Cascia said...

Just stopping by from the UBP at Five Minutes for Mom. You have a great site. I would love it if you visited my blog and left me a comment! I'm looking forward to reading more and getting to know you better.

The Healthy Moms

Stacey said...

What a lovely picture of your family! Thanks for sharing that so transparently! I am so honored that you stopped by 29lincolnavenue and that you a new follower as well! I look forward to getting to know you. I hope you come by often and are encouraged!


Life More Simply said...

I found you through the blog party and had to click on your link because I myself am a firefighter/paramedic though my husband is not! It's fun to read how things are the other way around and your writing and photography are fantastic!!!! Come visit me sometime, glad to have met you! Http://

pregnancy baby said...

hope you had fun at the party! can't wait to see what they have planned for next year!

Michelle said...

ahhh...The family bed. I remember that well.
Now our boys are 28,18,16...time does fly by fast.
Now our cat sleeps with us.
Love to cuddle!

*UBP 2010* said...

you are such a terrific writer!

t's neat to see you sharing the life of a firewife with so many.

Great post ~Juile

Peek A Boo said...

Found you through the UBP! A little late is never bad I suppose. Especially being one of the wives!
My husband is the Fire Marshal on the Vol. FD here.
I am glad I found a wife...
Hope you and your kiddos have a wonderful day!
Come on over to

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