The Firefighter and the Smoke Detector

This morning has already been a whirlwind.  We were suppose to pick up a baby from the hospital today, which would give us less than 24 hours to switch from one child leaving to another one coming.  It’s been a while since I was in full baby mode, and I was booking it around the house digging around for all things baby that have been tucked away since my son was an infant.  The emotional up and down had me drained last night, and I wearily crawled into bed between loads of laundry.

It was a restless sleep, and in the morning I tried to wait an appropriate amount of time before calling the hospital to set up baby’s release time.  I had my document in hand when I called, ready to give the necessary information saying I was allowed to pick baby up today.  But something happened.  There was some confusion, a call to our case worker, and baby might not be placed with us after all.

This was another lesson in holding on loosely, along with something new: wait until you are physically going to pick up a child before you tell your son the news.  My little boy has been asking for a baby, and I thought telling him the news might help him through the difficulties of saying goodbye to his foster brother.  Unknowingly, we brought him into limbo land with us- waiting to hear what will happen next.  It’s not the worst thing… but I’d rather he didn’t join us there.  One of my personal parenting pet peeves (say that five times fast) is changing things up last minute on my son.  I hate when I tell him such and such is a done deal and then plans change.

Speaking of plans changing, we RSVPed three days ago to a wedding happening today  (yes, I know three days notice is not great, but there were some extenuating circumstances).  Two days ago we were planning on going to a wedding as a family.  Yesterday, I figured new baby would nix those plans.  Now today, wedding is back on.

I  was thinking through all of that when the phone rang.  It was a number I didn’t recognize, so I answered it, eagerly thinking it could be a social worker.  Nope, it was the fire department.  Here’s about how the conversation went:

“Hello, this is the fire department.  I’m sorry I’m running late.”

[My brain desperately trying to connect the dots but mostly still stuck on the fact that this was a male voice- not something I usually hear when a social worker calls] “…Running late?”

“Yeah, we had a 9:00 appointment.  We got a little backed up, but we can still come out sometime today if you can reschedule.”

[In a daze, I look at the clock that reads 9:40. I still had no idea what this was about]  “Ummmm… I guess we can reschedule…”

Poor guy must have picked up on my confusion. “You signed up to have new smoke detectors installed… just last week.  You filled out a form for us to come out today.”


Oh.  That.  That wasn’t last week; that was a lifetime ago.  That was when we were a happy little unit of four.  That was before goodbyes, before I made the crazed room transition from toddler to infant in one night, before wedding whiplash, before some very big emotional ups and downs.  Yeah, I forgot about that.  But okay, if you want to come out within the hour, be my guest.

It’s amazing how many big events happen within a such a short time in this journey.  I felt like I lived through a lifetime of emotions in a week.  I probably seemed pretty flaky to that firefighter.  I could have tried to explain myself to him, but it wasn’t worth it.  Instead, we got to tidying up and making the best of an unexpected (but completely planned) visit from the fire department.  And my husband took the opportunity to make me laugh.  He posted the following picture and caption onto social media before the visit.  Yes, I did see the post before the fire department arrived.  And no, I didn’t take the car seat down.  Sometimes when life gets crazy, all you can do is have a good laugh about it.


Car seat was sitting on the ground next to ATV. Wife tells me to clean up outside as fire dept is coming to install smoke detectors. I decide to make the firefighter’s day a little more surreal.


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