My first post for this blog! It's hard to narrow down what you want to say, there's so many angles I could take.
I'll start by saying I'm 374's wife - Brandi. I have been married to 374 for six years this coming October. We have two beautiful children - our son Bubby will be six on Monday (less than 41 hours... but who's counting?!) and our daughter Sassy is four and a half. We live in a small rural community that I was born in. Firefighting, volunteer at least, runs in my family. My grandfather was a firefighter for a while, as was his brother and other close family friends.
We haven't always been a fire family. I never even knew this lifestyle would be a part of our life. I remember the day my husband brought up the idea. He had been in the kitchen, and I sitting on the couch. He came into the living room and asked, "What do you think if I said I wanted to join the fire department?" I had never heard anything about it before, and I wasn't sure how to take him. I am always behind him 100% in anything he wants to do. I remember telling him it was his choice - if it was something he really wanted to do, it was okay with me. I think at the time I hadn't realized just how much thought he had already put into this. The topic came up a few more times over the next few weeks, and I realized it was time for a sit down talk about the decision. Little did I know how much this decision was about to change our lives.
We were homebodies. 374 went to and from his full time job. I worked part time at a local grocery store. We'd make the normal runs to and from town for groceries once a week, we might take the kids to dinner one night, or go visit family members each week. That was the extent of our calendar, throwing in the odd doctor's appointment or teacher meeting. We were always together. We've always gone everywhere with our kids - hardly have they been left with a sitter. This is where one of the biggest changes has come in our lives. We schedule things around work nights, trainings, business meetings, and Auxiliary meetings (more on that later.) Plans change in the blink of an eye when the pager goes off. Dinner plates are kept warm in the microwave. Family trips to town for dinner and groceries have turned into me toting two kids along my self trying to keep them civil while remembering everything on my list. Some days I long for long weekends with nothing to do, knowing we can lock ourselves in the house and not go anywhere, but most days I wouldn't trade our life now for anything.
I often asked my husband why he made the choice to join the department. The answer is usually something like "I wanted to be more than someone who worked a 9-5 job. I wanted more from my life. I wanted something that my kids and wife could look back on and be so proud of me for doing. I wanted to make a difference." I assured him no matter what he did in life we'd be proud of him. If he felt this was the path for our family to take, I also assured him we'd be behind him every step of the way.
I'm extremely proud to announce that he's made it through his first set of classes and passed his state exam. It took a long time to find a class that was offered at the right location (not too far of a drive from home) and at the right time (meshed with his work schedule.) He is currently on a volunteer department. We have been toying with the option to take a basic EMT course and be able to be hired on with a full time department. I think right now we are staying put. He loves the station he's at. Not to say that he couldn't be a volly while working a paid department, but right now I think he wants to enjoy the volunteer job without the hassle of classes and tests. I don't blame him.