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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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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14 Things You Relate To If You Grew Up WithOUT Any Cousins

*GASP* "What, you really don't have any cousins?"

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It always shocks every person who hears me state that I do not have any cousins. For some reason, this is just hard for people to really believe when it's actually not something impossible. I think we are all just so used to large families that it sounds weird when people say that they have no cousins. Yet, it is definitely a potential reality, and actually impossible if each of your parents is the only child to your grandparents.

Here are 14 things that you can relate to if you grew up without any cousins.

1. Nobody believes you when you say that you don't have any cousins

I'm serious, for the tenth time.

2. Your grandparents spoil you

With no other grandchildren to worry about, it's pretty easy to do.

3. You don't understand when people say that cousins are your first best friends

My best friend was my first best friend.

4. You and your siblings are always the youngest people at family events

This was simultaneosuly a good thing and a bad thing.

5. You get all of the attention at holidays

Since you're the youngest one around, then distant relatives are always doting over you.

6. Everything you do is deemed awesome by your extended family because there is nobody to compete with

It's much easier to be praised when you aren't being compared to someone similar to your age.

7. You don't know how to hold babies

You're never around them so why would you?

8. Family photos are pretty easy to coordinate

The less people, the easier.

9. Other family members spoil you just because 

Afterall, you are the only kid around...

10. The family will make comments regarding the potential for you to have a cousin as a justification for why they aren't doing something for you

When you hear, "I can't buy you too much because someday your aunt is going to have kids and I will have to do the same for them" you cringe and just had to know that all of the attention wouldn't last forever.

11. Birthdays are always a big deal

A perk of not having very many to remember.

12. If your parents' siblings own pets, then you refer to the animal as your cousin

Cat cousins, dog cousins, lizard cousins, and fish cousins can be pretty cool, actually.

13. Sometimes you dream of marrying into a big family

This is to ensure that your kids do grow up with cousins.

14. You appreciate the closeness of your tight-knit fam

Maybe the only thing you would miss if you had a big family is the opportunity to develop such close bonds with the few relatives that you do have.

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