This blog is dedicated to the daily dealings of a Firefighter’s Girlfriend, but what of the girl before The Man decided to become a firefighter? The academy wasn’t just a period of metamorphosis for him. I’ve changed countless times with each week, every argument, and all of the changes in him.

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There was a great sense of joy and pride in becoming the “housewife” of sorts; caring for our apartment: cooking, cleaning; and preserving our little routines. Making granola bars every week was strangely therapeutic, at times.

Now that the 18 (cough, 19) weeks are over, I realized that I struggled greatly with my internal dialogue and exploration. I used to walk, paint, draw, or sew for personal growth and sanity. Over the course of time, it transformed into a stress reliever, more than anything else.

Creative expression, today, comes out in the form of pages or dividers for my planner. It became my way of keeping our life organized and my personal oasis.

Yes, I’ve turned into one of those soccer moms who carries around a $80 planner chock full of paper clips, schedules, to-do lists, and washi tape. While it doesn’t match my hand-made dresses, acrylic-paint pet portraits, or the myriad expressions of art I used to compose, it’s a functional way for me to create something cute and organize the craziness that is the life of a firefighter’s girlfriend.

The academy was 19 weeks of simply Monday-Friday scheduling. But with an additional training course that lasted ten weeks, one week in the field, mentor-mentee days, and study groups, my planner was filled with a surprising amount of firefighter information.

Meeting up with other probie couples for Yankees games, football games, dinners, or just a Friday night out after a tough week, I quickly realized that my respite was informative for more than just The Man and I. It seems that no other fire girlfriend or wife had any idea when things started or ended. Compounding this, many of the guys going through the academy didn’t even have the answers to their partners’ questions. To many this is a foreign thought, but it is gratifying and calming to know that I have all of the available information at any given moment.

Life can’t just be huge win after huge win. I won some and lost a lot during the academy. My life is drastically different, as is my relationship. For now, I am finding comfort in the constants: my family, a handful of near-and-dear friends, and my drive to make the world a better place.

I strive to maintain even just a small bubble of positive. I will not succumb to hard times and emotional struggles. And I am finding fulfillment in the small seeds of my pre-academy self. I do not expect to return to who that woman was, nor do I wish to. What started with a planner and keeping our life organized will blossom into more. I am confident in my ability to rediscover my roots and grow into a better, stronger, and more creative individual.