The Day That Changed Things Forever

CarolinaFireJournal - Dedra Cline
Dedra Cline
08/07/2015 -

My firefighter (FF) and I had our daughter just weeks past our first anniversary. That was almost 21 years ago. Without any family living near us, I had to change plans when my plans crossed with my FF’s plans. Also during this time I was beginning to teach and was getting involved in national organizations. I was always changing plans at the last minute.


My husband worked at one fire department that only allowed three people off on any given day. The third person was on call to come back in. I never liked being in the number three slot. I always felt bad if someone had to be called back in due to me. So, I handled everything by myself — even when I was sick — until this one weekend.

It was not the weekend I had planned. On Saturday morning my FF got ready and headed for work and I just lay in bed. I was not feeling well and hoped that our daughter would sleep late. As the day continued I just got sicker. I wasn’t able to get up to feed her, but I think she was fed that day. My FF would call when he had a chance, but I would be feeling, “just fine.” I didn’t want him to know how sick I really was, because I didn’t want anyone to have to come in and take his place on the job. And, as the day went on, the more our daughter got into, the more she wanted to do, and the sicker I got.

It was almost her bedtime so I put her in bed and I lay down on the couch, and guess who did not want to sleep? I brought her into the living room and turned on the television and told her to just sit there. I remember her climbing up on the couch to sit on my back. It seemed like that was her favorite spot. She sat there for the longest time until she eventually fell asleep and I took her to
her bed.

We made it through the night and the next morning when my FF came home — it wasn’t pretty. Why? At some point that day our daughter had colored the window on the door. That wasn’t so bad. Then we found where she had colored the window behind the couch while she sat on my back.

This day changed things forever.

That was the last time I was sick and didn’t call my FF to come home. But, after cleaning up my daughter’s adventures, I realized that it was OK.

What did I learn? It is OK to ask for help from your FF.

Dedra Cline welcomes your questions and comments. She can be reached at [email protected].
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