So, while this was happening, the paramedics said to Tuck,
"Let's see... how many stitches do you think you'll need?"
"It's possible. I think it might be more like five."
Another uniformed man said, "I'm thinking eight."
They placed their bets, and then they said, "We will be at the firehouse on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. Please come on by, show us your stitches, and we'll give you a tour of the firehouse. Maybe a ride in the truck, if you want."
Let me tell you, that right there gave my son another root of courage to fight the battle of the stitches and the fear. The promise of real, live contact with fire equipment.
So, we counted the stitches and we counted the days, and the following week we stopped by the Littleton Fire Department after school to spend a little time with our heroes.
They remembered Tuck, even with his new, fresh bandage.
They remembered Tyler, the smart little whipper-snapper who met them on the sidewalk and flagged down the ambulance.
They remembered me, even though I wasn't in my jammies with blood on my hands.
They gave my boys the deluxe tour while I listened to the Q&A and scanned their handsome, rugged hands for wedding rings. (I've become an expert at the wedding band scan.)
Tyler said, "So, you were the ones there when my brother hurt his leg?"
"Yes, sir. That was us."
"And were you the ones who came to our house when I locked the door when I was a baby?"
"How about when my mom spilled the pineapple?"
"How about when I turned on the stove and forgot for three days and our house smelled like a gas station?" (I don't think I wrote about that at the time. Sorry. It's hard to keep up.)
"Were you there when my dad died? His name is Robb."
The fireman looked at me for more information. "It was Christmas 2010, and we lived just three blocks from here. My husband was 35, his heart stopped, he died on my bedroom floor..." it feels so cold to recite these facts like a grocery list.
"Ma'am, I wasn't in your home, but I remember that call. I remember that night. I can put you in touch with the men who were there, if you'd like."
And all of a sudden it was all a little too close and too real for me. Something inside of me froze with the notion and magnitude of reuniting with the men of the Wall of Blue. Maybe someday I can meet them, thank them, and learn their names. But no, not today. I cannot. I could not go there on that day. This visit wasn't about my closure.
I'm not sure I can handle that kind of closure, actually.
We were 'lucky' enough to be there when they got an emergency call, so we watched them load up and head out with lights and sirens ablaze.
Whenever we hear sirens, the boys and I pray together. Nothing fancy, no bowing heads and folding hands, not even closed eyes. We just talk out loud together, knowing God can hear us, knowing that somebody somewhere is hurt or afraid and their families are worried and scared. We thank God that he goes before the ambulances and fire trucks, that he has specially called those men to serve at this emergency, and we ask God to give everyone his peace.
So it was a whole other something to pray together as we watch those very men load up and head on out.
One fireman stayed behind and gave the personal, extended tour, which involved letting my guys lift weights and do pull-ups in the ultimate gym. (I did not choose to lift weights or pull myself up onto anything. A girl's prerogative.)
They invited us to come back any time for a visit. We just may.
I may or may not bring my sons. 😉