What it's Like in Fire Wife Life
When I first met my now-husband and we started dating, I knew what I was getting myself into. I mean, the man’s dating profile picture was of him in his uniform. My husband is a firefighter. He has been since he turned 18. His father is a fireman, his grandfather was a fireman, and so on. It’s in his blood. I was instantly attracted to the “man in uniform.” He told me straight off the bat what kind of life I could expect with him: he might be gone for extremely long hours, miss important family events, and that dang pager can go off at any time!
My very first time meeting his family, he got a call for a structure fire that lasted until 2:00am. I knew what he said about his schedule, but I never expected him to ACTUALLY leave me there with those people by myself! Needless to say, it was awkward for me.
Speaking of in-laws, I also learned that his fellow firefighters are more family than actual family is. He leaves his life in their hands, so he has to be able to fully trust them. I have to say that over the years I have come to love all firefighters and their significant others. It doesn’t matter if they are in Roy’s fire department or not. There is just a certain kind of kinship in knowing that your loved one runs into fire for funsies.
The thing that surprised me the most about being a fire wife is the pride I feel for Roy and his fire department brothers. Seeing them in action makes my heart swell like a mom at her kids tee-ball game; I just wanna grab someone and say, “Look at them go! That’s MY family!”
In times of crisis, the whole fire department really comes together. The best example I can give of this happened when my youngest was born and put into the NICU. Now, one of Roy’s biggest sources of pride is always having a well-manicured lawn. Needless to say, when we were in Little Rock with William, the yard got awful. The guys in the department came to our house, did all of the yard work, and even put the trash on the curb. I bawled like a baby that day. It was a perfect example of their love and care for one another.
If your partner is considering fire as their new way of life, be prepared. It’s not all glitz and glamour like Hollywood makes it out to be. Everyone says that firefighters have one of the highest divorce rates in the country. It’s a stressful job. Your partner will need all of your support, because they have to be able to do this job with a clear head. They WILL miss holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and other important life moments. Fire isn’t just a job. It’s a way of life. It’s not that different from being a soldier’s wife or a police officer’s wife: it comes with it’s own unique sets of stressors, and PTSD is a very real thing. And I can’t even tell you how many times that pager has gone off in the middle of the night, and I stayed up all night to make sure Roy came home safe.
But man, do I love my firefighter! I always feel safe when I am with him and know that I will be protected from harm, no matter what. I am so proud of what he does. He helps the injured and tries his hardest to preserve people’s belongings and memories in times of immense crisis. He turns away all thoughts of himself when others need him the most. I could never imagine my life as anything other than being a fire wife. And you should see how proud my son is of his daddy. He tells EVERYBODY what his daddy does, and even tries to go with him when the pager goes off. Being a fire wife may mean that you have to do some things alone, but it also means you are never truly alone. You always have the fire community to back you up. You gain many new friends, and tons of new aunts and uncles for your kiddos. It truly is an amazing thing to be a part of.
(P.S. you should think of the fire dept as a mistress……I think this pic sums it up perfectly 😊)