Thoughts From A Firefighter's Daughter

Thoughts From A Firefighter's Daughter

How I came to realize just what those in the fire service sacrifice for us every day.
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Growing up in a fire station was one of the coolest thing about my childhood. On any given Saturday my mom would announce that we were going to visit Dad at work, and I knew I was in for a day of excitement. Getting to flash the engine lights, blare the ambulance siren, run around the fire hydrants and steal medical gloves from the medical stock were some of my favorite things as a kid. I threw around a football for the first time in the open truck bay with the guys on my dad's shift, knew exactly which pantry had the best snacks and which recliner was the most comfortable in the TV room. These were all just things that were apart of my life as a kid. I didn't realize until much later in my life exactly how amazing and important what my Dad did really was.

It took me quite a few years to realize that my home life was much different from most, if not all, of my friends. Most of my classmates had parents who went to work in the mornings, and returned home at nights. I didn't know that it was unusual to have your dad live and sleep somewhere else every third day. I didn't understand that my friends parents almost never had to work on Christmas or Thanksgiving; or that they would come home and be able to talk about every aspect of there day with their families. It was always "My daddy is a fireman," and that was that. I never really gave much thought to it.

As I got older, things about my dad's job became clearer and clearer to me. I remember on mornings when my dad would be getting off of work, returning home around seven a.m. just as my sister and I were getting ready for school, that on some mornings he would surprise us with donuts for breakfast. At the time, I just thought that was a fun, nice thing my dad was doing for us— but little did I know that those were the mornings following a night with a particular terrible call my dad had to run on. That bringing those treats as a surprise for our family was his way of trying to return to some normalcy after loosing a patient or having to respond to an especially tough accident.

And that was the moment I began to realize exactly what it was my dad did for a living.

I began to realize that the reason he would come home smelling like smoke in the mornings was because he had been out until four o'clock in the morning trying to save a family's house from a deadly blaze. That the reason he would come home from work in a less than perfect mood some days and didn't want to talk about why is because he had to tell a man that his wife died of a stroke in her sleep the night before, or had been unable to save a baby from a wrecked car. The reason we would sometimes get cards in the mail is because people like sending thank you letters to people who help deliver their babies in the back of ambulances, or are able to save their son from an overdose.

I started to realize how much of a hero my daddy was. That firemen and paramedics are more than just attractive men, shirtless in calendar spreads, or who you call when your cat is stuck in a tree. They're the ones who drop everything and run into a 104 story building that had just been targeted by terrorists high jacking airplanes knowing full well that they would probably never be running out. They're the ones who spend weeks away from their families deployed to help fight wildfires threatening people's homes and property with little more than axes and spray bottles. They're the ones who kiss their wives and children goodbye every morning knowing that they might not be coming home again.

I realized that my daddy was a hero. That he delivered babies, saved houses and car and saved lives, of teenagers and old people, and cats and dogs. That Santa had to deliver presents to our house the day before Christmas some years because daddy had to go to work and help people, or that he missed my tee-ball game because someone else needed his help.

I learned that my daddy was a hero. Not only to me and my sister and my mom, but to hundreds of other people all over the state. And on the day he retired from the fire service after 25 years and received salutes from his captain and crew mates and people whose lives he had touched, that those tears in the eyes of everyone in the room were those of respect and gratitude, admiration and thanks.

And in that moment, everything that happened while I was growing up came into focus, because as far as i'm concerned I grew up with a daddy who had the greatest job of all.

So this is an open letter to all first responders and their families. Thank you for all you have sacrificed to keep our cities safe. Thank you for being that face in the smoke or the shattered car window telling us everything is going to be OK and getting us to safety. Because I understand now, everything you had to sacrifice for us. How often you put your life on the line for us. Thousands and thousands of you everyday, across the country, doing everything in your power to keep us safe.

From the bottom of my heart, to daddys, and husbands and even mothers and wives who risk their lives every day to keep us safe...

Thank you.

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

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Dear Mom, Now That I'm Older

A letter to the woman who made me the woman I am today.
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Dear Mom,

Now that I'm older, I definitely appreciate you a lot more than I did as a kid. I appreciate the little things, from the random text messages to constantly tagging me on Facebook in your "funny" photos and sending me pins of stuff I like on Pinterest. Now that I'm older, I can look back and realize that everything I am is all because of you. You've made me strong but realize it's okay to cry. You've shown me how a mother gives everything to her children to give them a better life than she had, even when she's left with nothing. And, most importantly you've taught me to never give up and without this, I would not be where I am today.

Mom, now that I'm older, I realize that you're the best friend I'm ever going to have. You cheer me on when I try new things and support me in deciding to be whatever person I want to be. Thank you for never telling me I can't do something and helping me figure out ways to be the best woman I can be. Your love for me is unconditional. They say true, unconditional love can only come from God, but mom, I think you're a pretty close second.

SEE ALSO: An Open Letter To The Cool Mom

Now that I'm older, I don't get to see you as much. But not seeing you as much just makes the times I do get to see you the absolute best, and I look forward to it every time. Now that I'm older, I'm not going to live at home. But, I promise to always come back because I know the door is always open. Your house is always going to be my home, and no other place is going to be the same.

Now that I'm older, I realize how much I miss you taking care of me. I miss you making me dinner, making sure I was doing well in school, and taking me to endless appointments. I miss you waking me up for school and then waking me up again because I didn't listen the first time.

But, Mom, now that I'm older, I can see all that you've done for me. I can look back and see how big of a brat I was but you still loved me (and let me live) anyways. I can understand why you did certain things and frankly, you're one bada** of a woman.

To have you as my mom and my best friend has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. So, Mom, now that I'm older, thank you, for everything.

Love,

Your Daughter

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This Is What Being Away From Home Taught Me About My Home

... It's ok to make plans with people besides your mom.

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My home, for as long as I can remember, has been my safe haven. No matter how many arguments my family and I got into, I always knew my home to be a place where I could feel safe, at peace, grounded, and most importantly, comfortable.

This is why, when I decided to embark on a journey to Israel, 6,000 miles away felt like I was traveling into space. I felt as if I couldn't move forward without my mom by my side, reminding me everything is going to be okay. The relationship that my mom and I have is a special one, and knowing that I was not in close proximity to her created much-unwanted anxiety for us both. Knowing that while she may have only been a phone call away, that she wouldn't be able to come hold me if I needed her to, was something I really struggled with.

While I was away, I had hoped that my excitement for the trip and the adventures that were to come would keep me grounded and sane. Unfortunately, as the days went on, I became more and more homesick. However, I was able to learn some really important lessons in terms of the importance of my home, and sometimes the need to escape it.


The new friendships I made showed me that sometimes it's okay to make plans with people besides your mom (only partially joking).

The new foods I tried showed me that there are so many different types of foods that my chef of a mother hasn't even heard of.

The new experiences showed me just how important it is to step out of my comfort zone, even if doing so means I have to be 6,000 miles away from the comfort of my mom's arms.


There are hundreds of thousands of things that this trip has taught me, but it especially taught me that life exists away from your home as well. While it is natural to want to stay close to the things that bring you comfort, it is also essential that you allow yourself to grow.

I couldn't be luckier to have had such an incredible experience abroad, but I also couldn't be luckier to have been able to come home to a mom that was waiting with open arms and open ears.

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