Justin Davis works as an emergency responder for Arlington EMS. He lives in the Arlington area with his wife, Clare, and their three children: Kylie, Brink and Kellen.
7AM My alarm is set to go off at 7:15am, but Kellen’s whimpering rouses me. Working 24-hour shifts on an ambulance has made me used to waking up at all hours of the night, so I’m typically the one who gets up to see what he needs. If he needs to eat then I’ll wake up Clare, but this time it’s only a dirty diaper.
7:10AM With a fresh diaper on, Kellen is happily swinging in the swing that all three of our children have enjoyed over the years. I turn my alarm off so it doesn’t wake Clare, and I hop in the shower to get ready for work. It’s only a 10-hour shift, but I still have to pack and prepare some things for my day.
7:30AM I rummage through the clothes in the dryer and find my uniform I’d washed the night before. I get dressed and pack my spare uniform in my backpack along with my phone charger.
7:50AM I’m trying to decide if the dishes in the dishwasher are clean or dirty, because I need a bowl for my cereal, when I hear Kylie coming down the stairs. She’s not hard to miss. It’s not even 8am, and my daughter has already found a pair of high-heeled Disney Princess shoes that are making the most awful noise as she carefully makes her way down our wood-floor staircase.
8AM Kylie and I are sharing a bowl of cereal, then, just like clockwork, Kellen has decided that he is also ready for breakfast. I wake up my exhausted wife and hand off our screaming bundle of joy to her.
8:15AM My coffee is almost done, so I start making my lunch while Kylie serenades me with her version of “Amazing Grace.”
8:20AM I’m walking back to the bedroom to make sure I have everything I need, and I hear Brink yelling, “Mommy! Good morning! I want to get up!” I sigh and consider going upstairs to get him out of his bed, change his diaper and get him ready for the day. But I have to leave in 10 minutes if I want to be at work on time. I don’t think anyone would appreciate it if an emergency responder were late for work.
8:25AM I’ve double-checked everything, and I am confident that I have everything I need for work. I sit at the foot of the bed while a half-asleep Clare is burping Kellen. We briefly discuss tentative plans for when I get home and what needs to be done while I’m gone.
8:30AM I kiss everyone goodbye and tell them, “I love you and I’ll see you later tonight.” As I’m pulling out of our street I pass by the kitchen window and see my wife and all three children waving goodbye. I swell with pride. Then I see Kylie push Brink, and at the very last second the scene at our kitchen window is total chaos. I am momentarily relieved that I am on my way to work.
1:35PM Work has been relatively slow. I guess the citizens of Arlington are on their best behavior today. I miss a phone call from Clare while my partner and I are on a call. She also sends me a text message, but I’ll have to check it and call her back after we get this patient to their dialysis.
1:55PM I call Clare back and she asks me how my day is going. I give her the five-second synopsis of my day thus far and ask how she and the kids are doing. She says it’s been a good day, and she even had time to finish loading the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. I guess the bowl I used for my cereal this morning was not clean after all … oops. This is one of the reasons why I do the dishes and some of the laundry myself. When you’re married with three children in three years, you have to step up and at the very least take care of yourself.
2PM My partner is back in the ambulance and Clare is still talking about all of the things Kylie, Brink and Kellen have done today. I tell her I have to go and ask if there’s anything she needs. Her response is, “Actually, yes. Brink is completely out of overnight diapers. Can you pick some up on your way home?” Of course I can. After assuring her I’ll call her when I get off work, we say I love you and hang up.
5:20PM While I’m literally in the middle of trying to save someone’s life, Clare texts me.
|6:35PM I’m feeling pretty good, because my partner and I did our job and saved an elderly woman’s life. I check the message, and Clare has requested that I get a gallon of milk while I’m at the store getting diapers.
7:40PM I’m finally on my way home.
8PM I arrive at home with diapers and milk. The house doesn’t look that bad. I run up the stairs to tell Kylie and Brink goodnight.
8:25PM I’ve kissed Kylie and Brink, told them “night-night,” rubbed their backs, sang to them and prayed with them.
8:30PM I unload the dishwasher while Clare feeds Kellen.
9:20PM I settle into bed, and Clare and I catch up on our favorite TV shows.
11:30PM Kellen finally stays asleep in his crib in our room, so I tell Clare I’m going upstairs and I will come get Kellen if he wakes up. She mumbles something about video games and CPR and says she loves me. Then I spend a hard-earned 30 minutes playing Halo before I realize that I’m so exhausted, I cannot see straight.
12:05PM I fall asleep in the rocking chair by our bed while cuddling with Kellen.
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