You know that scene in “The Incredibles” where the ice dude shouts out “Honey, where’s my super suit?”– yeah. Welcome to the life of an EOD family. There’s my husband, happily lounging in his sweats and a hoodie, when a call comes in. Somebody somewhere has something that may or may not blow up and may or may not hurt an awful lot of people, and my husband, he may or may not be out of the house in five minutes flat to come save the world.
These EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) techs are your go-to guys when you have a grenade sitting on your mantel from the Korean War, or a liter-sized WW1 artillery round being used as a doorstop, or a mortar shell with Nazi insignia propped up as a book end, and one day you get to thinking, “hey, I wonder if this thing is still live?” If you give your local police a call, before you know it a team of intelligent looking soldiers in ACUs will walk into your home, treat your pet grenade like the deadly explosive it is, and make all things safe.
Such was the case this past Saturday night when my husband whipped on his super suit, shaved his four-day weekend shadow, and kissed me goodbye.
I imagine it is the same for any spouse of an emergency responder; you just learn how to jump into motion. All the plans can change in a breath by a single call. That dinner you were planning on having? No more. The bedtime routine with the children? Out the window. The seven am wake up and rousing of the progeny for church the next morning? That’s on you, Mama. The planned and pre-paid family outing to the pumpkin patch? Guess you’re goin’ alone.
As a spouse, you think of all these things in a matter of seconds when your soldier prepares for a response. At the same time you are also thinking, “he didn’t eat dinner; what can I pack in two minutes? Where’s the water bottle? Will a chocolate bar help him stay awake?” and you’re throwing a dinner and breakfast and 3 AM snack into a bag. By this point you’re also having anxiety because he’s not a young 20-something anymore and how is he going to stay awake all night? So then you kiss him in his super suit, listen to your only set of wheels whirl away, and say a prayer.
I don’t sleep on nights like that. I keep waiting for my own call to come in, that call that says he’s on his way home, or the one that says he’s passing through the gate. I toss and turn and then startle when he looms in the door at seven AM, home safe.
I asked my husband to edit this story, and he did, taking out all the interesting bits full of incriminating detail. Loose lips sink ships, and all that.
But one last thought. As I told my sister-in-law a hilarious rendition of what really happened that night, she sighed, “I don’t know. He may have disposed of a a dangerous explosive, but I kinda think you deserve the super hero status yourself for taking six kids to the pumpkin patch alone. In my book, that takes more courage than disposing of bombs any day.”
If you don’t mind, I think I’ll go iron our capes.