Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Stand by Your (Wo)man

I met my husband Tommy in December of 1992 while we both volunteered for the Fire Department (19 years ago...more than half of my life).
This is pretty much exactly what he looked like the night I met him.

We were good friends, helped each other through dating drama, and never imagined that with our 7 year age difference we would end up together. Fast forward, and we realized we were the best of friends and probably something more. Throw in college for me, a three year "intermission", and then the realization that we were meant to be together. (Ok, so I am sure you are thinking "blech...this is way to sappy"). I'm going somewhere with this....

We have been together for the better part of 16 years (if you don't count the intermission), and there is one amazing thing about Tommy that I don't think I thank him for often enough. He is unconditionally supportive. Here is the conversation in our house a week or so ago:

Me: "So, I want to ask you about something"
Tommy: (I'm sure thinking to himself "What crazy thing does she have going on now?")
Me:"So, did I tell you that Rev3 is doing a Run Across America? I was kind of hoping I could go for the last week."
Tommy: "As long as you can make it work with the kids and my work schedule."

In his head he might be saying "Is she freaking crazy?!?!?! Leaving us for a week to go running?!?!?!". But he NEVER says that I can't do something, or that I am unable to do something. He listens when I need to have a meltdown, and supports me unconditionally. We are far from perfect (he snores), but every year I come to appreciate more and more his support.

Rewind a bit. When I was 18 and applying to schools, he told me I should go wherever I wanted. He didn't try to keep me close to home, or push my decision. When I wanted to undertake a month-long intense firefighter training course that summer, he totally supported me. Plenty of men in the fire department thought a woman becoming a firefighter was ridiculous. I was smaller than the guys, but I went in prepared (I actually beat them all in sit ups and push ups). I struggled with the power saws (darn my Dad and that electric lawnmower). Tommy sat with me patiently, helping me learn to start the saw (despite a meltdown, or two, or ten). He encouraged me through the class, and was there on my first big fire. He never told me I couldn't or shouldn't do it.
An ad we did for a local restaurant.
So many times..graduating nursing school, going back to grad school, going on some fantastic adventures. I have been with him for most of my adult life, but he has always fostered my independence and my sense of adventure.

 In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit, I had the opportunity to go and work in the field hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I was traveling with a co-worker (who Tommy knew). This came about in the course of a few hours, and Tommy never balked. He told me to be careful, made sure arrangements were made for our daughter (not quite 2 at the time), and sent me on my way. I was gone for almost a week, working in the field hospital and then taking care of police officers and their families in downtown New Orleans.

When I got home, the house was clean, my daughter was clean and happy, and Tommy even had a card waiting for me telling me how proud he was of me. Then there was the Marine Corps Marathon (he and the kids even got me a personalized trophy commemorating my accomplishment), countless triathlons, work adventures, trips with friends. He just never stops.

The day before the Marine Corps Marathon, 2008.
Over the past year or so, I have realized that I didn't reciprocate as unconditionally as he does. He asks about something that would take him away for a day, and I pause. Not because I mind, but because I'm running through a mental checklist (what else do we have going on?). So it seems like I mind. When he had the opportunity to go to the Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Colorado this year, I was really excited. He deserves some guy trips. He had a blast, the kids and I survived, and I hope he gets to do it again next year. The other thing I learned? When he is at work or off doing something fun, he doesn't need to hear about every single issue at home. The kids tend to act up more for me than him, and what I perceive as venting comes across as something else.

Tommy has also became a hockey ref last year, which means time doing something he really enjoys. The great thing is that tri season and hockey season don't conflict too much! If anyone is keeping score, though, he is due for about two months away from home. I hope that I don't take for granted his support, and thought I would take a chance to thank him publicly. Thanks to anyone who read this far!


  1. same here! :) you are a lucky woman!

  2. This wasn't sappy ENOUGH!!!!! :)

    An awesome post, Kier - and a great testament to your relationship. I love that you both have EACH OTHER.

  3. Wow... what an amazing post Kier! You two are so lucky to have found the happiness that you have with each other! :)