11: My Hero

11: My Hero

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life!

My Hero

All men are created equal, then a few become firemen.

~Author Unknown

Often firefighters are referred to as heroes because they are willing to put their lives on the line and face danger to help or save others. A firefighter doesn’t think twice about entering a burning building to rescue someone in need or about climbing onto a blazing roof to put out a fire.

My husband is a firefighter. He has been in dangerous situations and has had to put his life on the line many times over the years. After being married to him for almost twenty years it is probably odd that I don’t often worry about the risks my husband takes in his job. That’s just what he does. What makes him a hero to me are all the things that he gives up in his personal life while being a firefighter in his professional life.

We’ve had friends comment on how lucky he is to have a work schedule that allows him to be home in the middle of the week. But what is often overlooked is the time that he is away. My husband’s job requires that he leave his family and sleep away from home half the month as firefighters work twenty-four-hour shifts. He has to trust that while he is taking care of others, his own family is safe. And what is also overlooked is how much I have to be on my own. But it works for us and our marriage is stronger for it.

In our marriage, my husband George and I have had to sacrifice many important family events, such as our anniversary, our son’s soccer games, first dances, and many holidays for the sake of his job. In our marriage we have had to make adjustments because of his absence. Some years we celebrate Christmas on the 26th because he is working on the 25th. Thanksgiving or a birthday celebration may take place the day before or after to accommodate his schedule. He cannot come home for a broken pipe or to help with a chore just because I am feeling overwhelmed, and I have never thought of asking him to do that. When he does come home on his days off he doesn’t mention his lack of sleep from the night before and he can be found immediately at the kitchen table helping our son with a school project or running some household errands for me as I work on a deadline.

Although George knows that I am a very capable adult who has handled this type of lifestyle for almost twenty years there are a few things that I know put his mind at ease. His calls throughout the day show his love and are his lifeline to his family. He calls in the afternoon to see how my day is going. He calls when our son comes home from school to check on him and to see how his day went. I receive a call at nine o’clock each night he is away to make sure we are safely home from whatever practice or event we were attending. I have been teased about my “curfew” by well-meaning friends but what they don’t seem to understand is that George cannot rest for the night without word that his family is safe and okay. I am not bound to the nine o’clock curfew if I am not going to be home by then I let him know.

I can only imagine how hard it is to receive a call from a frantic wife when the car won’t start due to a dead battery or the water heater is leaking. I try not to bother him with those types of things because there is not a thing he can do about them. My calls to him are more to vent than anything else, and he is always willing to listen. Writing this reminds me of how hard it must be for him to be away from us as much as he is.

This type of marriage might not work for everyone but George and I are willing to do what it takes to make it work. And it does work for us. When George comes home, we have all of his attention. He leaves his helmet behind at work and puts on his husband, father, gardener, or pool man hat. When I picture in my mind, my firefighter — the hero — I see the amazing personal sacrifices my husband makes to make sure others are safe while always trusting that we are too. He is my hero.

 

~D’ette Corona

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