Dec. 19, 2011 - Routines make life manageable. They create a balance between the unpredictability of life and the everyday things that require our attention. Take Friday, for example – a typical morning routine that consisted of me getting the kids up and moving and then driving them to school, which is typically a challenge in itself. (My two daughters take after me in the not-really-ones-to-get-up-and-hit-the-ground-running type).
Half way to school, the pager went off (hello, unpredictable!). Single vehicle MVC, possible extrication. My older daughter, Sydney, who will be 12 this month, didn’t miss a beat.
“Can we go to school late, Mom? Can you take us to the hall with you and we’ll wait in the training room til your done, and then you can take us to school?”
“No.” I replied.
“But you need to go.”
“You have to go, someone might be trapped.”
“No, Sydney. I have to take you to school.”
“You could take us to Gramma’s.”
“There’s no one there to drive you to school.”
“But you could pick us up when you’re done and drive us to school then.”
“Maybe you could take us to Uncle Brian’s. Or call Dad, maybe he can meet us.”
“No, Syd. I will take you to school and then I’ll go to the hall.”
“I need to take you two to school first. I will get to the hall when I get there.”
As the units arrived on scene, it turned out that no one was trapped and Sydney finally gave up on her attempt to get me to the call. I was actually amazed at how she managed to come up with so many options, despite my firm insistence from the get go that my priority was to get them to school first. (And despite the image in my thought bubble of me telling them to “tuck and roll” on the side of the road by Gramma’s house. Just kidding!)
As we continued on to the school and passed Big Jim (who is always there) heading to the hall (you can read about him in this blog) and Station One’s pumper (they’d been paged out as backup), the kids were excitedly telling their friends about it. They thought the whole experience was really cool, from hearing the call go out on the pager, to the updates from responding units, passing the other firefighters en route to the hall, and of course, me filling in the blanks with my two cents (which all firefighters do when they are listening to a call they’re not at), and explaining things as the call progressed.
I must admit, it was a profound moment to have my kids show so much interest and enthusiasm in something that means so much to me. And I was once again reminded that when I think it’s just another routine, ordinary day, something unpredictable happens to show me that there’s nothing ordinary about it.