Today I had the pleasure of accompanying RaggedyAnn's class to the local fire station. Since I'm usually available during the day, I like to come along on class trips when I can. I was even lucky enough to be able to leave Andy with my mom for the hour, instead of bringing him along like I'd anticipated. He's a little young for anything but being shlepped around and held by Mommy the whole time, so leaving him at Grandma's house made it a little easier.
When the kids arrived on the van, the firefighters actually had to go on a "call," so the class waited on the van and munched some cookies until the other fire truck returned. When one of the firefighters asked me if the kids were allowed to have some cookies baked by a firefighter's wife, and I had to say that they couldn't (kashrus), it helped that I told him they'd also had treats while waiting for the truck to return.
What is it about firefighters that just makes me so grateful and so proud at the same time? Every time I tried to talk to these men, I got kind of choked up. There's something so humbling about seeing the inside of the firehouse, all of the gear and equipment lined up, the chalkboards and the trucks. I'd never been inside a firehouse before today, so this was as exciting for me as it was for the kids.
For most of our brief visit, I was helping to snap pictures, holding Ann's hand, reassuring the kids who inexplicably started bawling (mostly boys, I might add!), and making sure nobody stepped in any oily truck reside puddles. I did mention to several of the firefighters that I give them a lot of credit for their willingness to open the firehouse up to the kids and talk to them about fire safety.
Since I wasn't able to express my real gratitude to these men in person, I thought of mailing a thank you card including a picture of the guys and the class, and telling them how much we appreciated not only the visit, but all that they do every day. What do you think?