The last two weeks of May we joined a local mom group to tour a fire station and the regional airport. We've toured both places before, but it had been several months since visiting either place. Jackson was still in school when we went to the fire station. James, Amelia, and Maddie had mixed reviews.
All was going well until a fireman began to suit up. They always do this during every tour, explaining that they want children to see a firefighter in gear. The point is for kids to never hide from them and know they're there to help.
It's a great idea, except it always backfires for Maddie. Every single time, she screams and cries to the point of hyperventilating. Lord, let her never be in a situation where she needs a firefighter to rescue her!
Once the gear was stripped away, Maddie allowed the men to pick her up and put her inside the firetruck. It probably didn't hurt that the firemen consoled her with stickers and a coloring book.
One of the little boys there looked exactly like James from the back. His mom and I repeatedly mixed them up!
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The next week we toured the regional airport. I debated not going because I had been sick the night before and still felt incredibly weak and nauseous. It ended up being one of my favorite "field trips"yet and our best experience at the airport. We began the tour along the runway, then inside hangar with jets owned by Joe Gibbs racing. (This is NASCAR country, my friends.)
We then toured the airport fire station, which was an interesting contrast from the local fire department. I somehow have never realized that the airport firefighters don't get out of the truck. They literally drive the truck and operate everything from inside it. Apparently it is where firefighters go that only have a few years left before retirement.
The highlight of the trip was seeing the medical helicopter. The EMT's and pilot were all excellent with the kids. James was his usual curious self, trying to unplug every cord he discovered. Jackson was captivated by an EMT and asked several questions. Amelia and Maddie were cautiously interested.
The real excitement came from watching the helicopter take off. As we were leaving, the medical staff received an emergency call. We all sat on the grass and watched with awe. Maddie and Amelia covered their ears and yelled, "It's loud!"
Without a doubt, these field trips and play dates will be what I miss most when I'm at work. I know the kids will thrive in a structured academic setting but I will miss our relaxed, hands-on approach to learning and exploring our community.