weekend in pictures – part two, the firehouse

Ed note: for the back story, please click HERE.

OK, so where were we? I believe we left off yesterday having successfully doused the towering inferno – AKA the ‘Oh yeah, that’s right, in yo’ face, Doc’ cupcake as the apple pie and apple crisps finished baking.

The girls set off to make cards for the firefighters while I finished cleaning up.

Although this may seem like too small a detail to mention, I have to tell you what happened next. The girls went into the den together and they made cards. And I stayed in the kitchen and cleaned up. And for some reason I could not discern – perhaps the moon was in the seventh house? Jupiter aligned with Mars? (Anyone want to name the song?) No matter the reason, I’ll be damned if peace didn’t guide the planet (anyone?) because not once did I hear, “Mama, Brooke is yelling” or “Mama, she’s totally not listening” or “Mama, I need help!” from one or a pained “Nooooooooooooo!” from the other one.

Nope, not once. They sat. They drew. Love steered the stars. (C’mon now, I know you know this.)

Anyway, this was the result from the big one. (Front of Katie’s card …)

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Middle of Katie’s card … I love that she not only took the time to draw the water shooting out of the fire truck and onto the burning house, but that she felt it important to add the bright blue sky and sun. Hey, guys, if you’re going to have to go risk your lives to fight a fire, we here at the Diary house really hope it’s a gorgeous day.

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And this was the result from the little one …

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I know I’m her mom and I know I’m not remotely objective, but seriously, how awesome is that? THAT is five years of OT, my friends. And for the record, this was a child who would / could not HOLD a writing implement of any kind in pre-school. How about them apples?

And not for nothin’, but can we talk about what she wrote inside her card (below)?

Do you like fire fighting?

Now, for the uninitiated, let me tell you why this matters. It matters because of this – Theory of mind. OK, moving on.

Middle of Brooke’s card …

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So, cards and hot apple crisp in hand, we headed out. After a quick stop at Whole Foods for some eighteen carat gold ice cream (I just assumed because I can’t imagine why else they would have charged $9 for a quart of the stuff), we headed down to the local firehouse. When we got there, we wandered around for a while, completely confused. We opened doors, peeked around corners and even bumped into each other a couple of times. Had we carried on that way for long, I could have called the post The Keystone Cops visit the Firehouse.

Finally, we opened the right door and found the crew gathered around a large table. The moment was initially awkward, but hot apple crisp and a quart of gold-plated ice cream broke the ice pretty quickly. That and a couple of really cute kids. Does the trick every time.

Katie and I hung out at the door and chatted a bit with one of the guys. Brooke however, walked right in and began asking the firemen their names. One by one, she walked around the room, pointing at each of them so there would be no doubt who she was addressing when she said, “What’s your name?” “It’s nice to meet you, Mike. I’m Brooke.” Then the outstretched little finger would lead her to her next inquiry. “What’s YOUR name? “It’s nice to meet you, Joe. I’m Brooke.” And so on.

Katie tugged at my arm. It’s a tug I know well. It’s the ‘MAMA, she’s embarrassing me’ tug. I looked down and smiled at her. “She’s fine, baby,” I whispered. “She’s fine.” Truthfully, I thought she was doing a whole lot better than fine.

One of the guys asked if the girls would like to go see the trucks. Before I could so much as turn my head, they’d both shouted, “Yes, please!” so off we went.

The girls were in heaven as Fireman Mike showed them around. He let them hold/ touch/ push/ pull /try on nearly anything in which they expressed an interest.

So Brooke immediately jumped into these …

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She was very excited when Fireman Mike showed up with the necessary accessories to complete the outfit.

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Then it was time for a ride …

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This would probably be an opportune time to tell you why I welled up as I took the photo above.

You know those Touch-a-Truck events where local service groups and businesses bring their trucks to a big field and let the kids in town crawl all over them? Well, they sound great. Unless you have a kid for whom a field full of other kids screaming, laughing, crying, ringing bells, honking horns and setting off sirens may as well be the third ring of Hell. So this – well, this was big. My baby got to check out the fire trucks all by herself.

And her mama got to enjoy yet another of those HUGE tiny moments that we on this journey have the privilege of noticing. Moving on …

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Next it was big sister’s turn to drive …

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But that was just the engine. What about the ladder?

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You can see just how much Katie really hated all this, can’t you? She really looks miserable in this next one, don’t you think? …

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While Katie was driving the ladder, Brooke decided to suit up again and hop back into the engine. Ya know, just in case. Always good to be prepared. (Mike tried to explain that the hat was backwards, but she wasn’t goin for it.)

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As she climbed down from the truck, Brooke pointed a finger at Mike indicating that she had something to tell him. “We LOVE firefighters!” she yelled. Mike smiled. He wasn’t entirely sure what to make of her, but he was pretty sure he liked her. She then followed up with some very important information for him. “When you see smoke, you stay low and GO!”

MIke laughed. “That’s right. Wow, you’re better at this than I am! Thanks.”

I’m guessing he hasn’t seen this. Perhaps we should donate one to the department …

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Next it was Katie’s turn to suit up …
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As soon as she was in the get-up, Brooke came running at her and did this …
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Which was sweet, but made very little sense until a few minutes later when we were headed out.
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We thanked Mike profusely for his time. He thanked us for the apple crisp. And as we said our goodbyes, Brooke asked Katie a question. Loudly.
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“Hey, Katie, do you want to HUG firefighter Mike?”
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Katie looked at me. I looked at her. Neither of us looked at Mike. And Brooke asked again.
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“Katie, are you going to hug firefighter Mike?”
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Katie handled it as only Katie could. First she very nicely responded to her sister, “Hmm, I don’t think so Brooke.” And then stage whispered to Mike what everyone else was thinking. “Well, that was awkward.”
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I could barely contain myself.
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When we got outside, both girls still had smiles wrapped three times around their heads. I was about to ask them what their favorite moments had been, but Brooke had a question.
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“Hey, Katie. Did ya hug a firefighter?”
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Katie chuckled. “Um, no Brooke, I didn’t.”
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Brooke looked smug as she answered.
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“Well I did.”
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And suddenly it all made sense. Elmo. Elmo had hugged a firefighter. And now, in her own ingenious way, so had Brooke. That’s my kid.
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And that, my friends was our day at the firehouse. Thanks so much for coming along for the ride!
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A HUGE shout out to our firemen – not just to the guys who showed my girls (and me!) such warmth and hospitality on Sunday, but to fire fighters everywhere who risk their lives every day to keep us safe. You are our heroes. If we could, we’d bring every single one of you a hot apple crisp and eighteen carat gold ice cream.
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23 thoughts on “weekend in pictures – part two, the firehouse

  1. WTG Diary family. I am sure that they appreciated the treats very much! BTW, We had a “den” growing up, you don’t hear that word very much anymore, made me a little nostagalic for a life long ago:)

  2. Yes! My category will be lyrics from famous Broadway Musicals for a quart of 18 karat gold ice cream please! I hate to be the spoiler for everyone who comments below me but Google confirmed my guess – Age of Aquarius!!

    Love this post, love those firefighters, love your girls, love what you give them as a parent.

    “Harmony and understanding
    Sympathy and trust abounding…….”

  3. Love it. Great work gals. Brooke fabulously captured a perfect likeness of a princess in distress on her card’s front! And FWIW, E was at one time as well versed in that Elmo video as Brooke is, as our frayed VHS box can attest.

  4. LOVE everything about this post! As a mom with a child on the spectrum, with sensory issues, who LOVES Elmo and Firefighters….as the sister of a Volunteer Firefighter…this brings back memories of our own trip to the firehouse…of my son trying with all his being to convince his uncle he needed the keys to the firetruck, of the huge smiles, the memories that can only come from spending a day with the most amazing of Heroes… Thank you DOAM

  5. I lost my sh*t at ‘Neither of us looked at Mike’ and then again with “Well, that was awkward.”

    Your writing, not just the pics, lets me vividly see the moments, love it! As I literally lol’d, my son said to no one in particular, ‘i think she’s reading that woman again’. :/

    Heartwarming and hilarious, this is pure awesomesauce. And so is Firefighter Mike. Wish I could thank him personally for giving one of our kids a movie moment.

  6. I have to go with Luna. Thanks for a “movie moment”, Firefighter Mike.
    …and to the rest of the firefighters in the world, thank YOU, TOO.

  7. I’m with Luna – entire firehouse visit aside (and the awesomeness of it), the way you tell a story makes us all feel like we were standing right there. It’s a gift. Love the LOL moments you make sure to include – we all need them :) Thanks as always for sharing – what a GREAT story this was.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this, Jess. It is so exciting seeing Brooke’s progress and loving the relationships the girls have with each other. As tough as things get, you have a rockin’ family!

  9. That was wonderful! And it reminds me of my own kids’ trip to the firehouse with our home school group over a year ago. Our son loved the fire trucks, and the wonderful firemen gave the kids rides in the basket of the ladder truck. Our son wasn’t so sure he could do it, but he really WANTED to. The firefighters could see he was struggling, and so could his friends. Then one of his friends offered to go up with him, and I said I’d go too. So my guy, and myself and two of his friends, climbed into the basket with the fireman. At first, they only raised it a little. My guy was nervous, but excited. He relaxed a little, and said the fireman could take it up more. And more. The they spun it all the way around. My guy had the BIGGEST SMILE on his face, and I got pictures. He was so proud of himself! When we went down, he watched the next batch of kids go up. One of his friends was weirded out by the basket and wasn’t sure he could stand going up. My guy offered to go up with him! So off they went on the next round, and the fireman put the basket all the way up. What an experience for my guy, and for me. Writing about it now, I can still feel the lump in my throat over the “little” victory we had that day. Thank God for firemen – they are a special breed. In fact, I think I might need to take our local volunteer firefighters some goodies soon. . . .

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