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  • Kristan Higgins


Updated: May 4, 2022

the fireman returns

When Dearest Son was born, he was very tiny. I was terribly sick, pretty much out of it for a few days, needing to stay in the hospital for two weeks to recover. Those days seemed to last for months.

In hindsight, I don’t know how my husband did it. He was barely thirty years old, had a toddler at home, a wife who was battling seizures and kidney failure, and, upstairs in the neonatal unit, a baby who weighed one pound, ten ounces.

McIrish did everything—the grocery shopping, the cooking, the laundry. He worked twelve or fourteen hours a day, soothed our little Princess when she cried for her mommy, visited our son, and reported back to me when I was awake enough to ask how the baby was. “He’s doing great,” McIrish would say without fail. “He’s such a cute little guy.”


When I came home from the hospital with the world's biggest c-section scar slicing across my abdomen, McIrish scoured the bathroom to kill every germ. Until I could drive again, he was the one who shlepped me the thirty-minute drive to and from the hospital every day. He read stories to our daughter, took care of our kitten, and, in the NICU, ticked our little preemie’s feet and told him he was brave and strong. When Dearest came home from the hospital 76 days after he was born, it was one of the happiest days in our lives.


Since then, McIrish has taught the kids to swim, to change a tire, to drive a nail, to plant vegetables. He has embraced—every day–the old adage that the best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother. His example of constancy, hard work, and everyday heroism is something the kids will carry with them all their lives.


My readers often tell me how lucky I am to have McIrish. Rest assured, my friends. I already know. I’ve known since the very start.

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