We caught up with our Seea Sister Taylor Rose Amico, to check in on her family while her husband is called to the front line of CA's many wildfires. She shared some insights into how she copes with this intense fire season, being away from her man, and the thought of him on the front line.
Your husband is a firefighter - he’s battling really intense forest fires for pretty exhausting periods of time. How do you cope with that mentally, knowing all the dangers involved?
Yeah- so my husband Caleb is a wildland firefighter and is on hand/ flight crew. He’s been in the wildland world going on 6 years now, and he/we really love it. As his wife, it can mentally be really hard knowing the dangers of his work line, and I am learning to combat those anxieties with trust.
Trusting my man that he is more than capable, he and his crew are prepared to handle such a radical calling and that his team (who are like a bunch of Byron’s favorite & really salty uncles) are looking out for him and our family.
At the end of the day knowing my husband loves what he’s doing and he has been called to do it helps too. If I can stop for a moment amidst my anxiety for my husband and his crew and take a breath and know that this is what they train for, I can have peace in my heart and honestly, Caleb can have peace, too knowing that everything is good at home and we support him.
It is not easy to be married to a crew guy and be a wildland fire family, but it's an honor to walk alongside Caleb as his wife.
The Amico Family - Photo Jake Riffle
Fire crews are known to be tight-knit teams who need to trust and depend on each other in life or death situations. How would you describe this bond from your perspective?
Caleb’s crew is a family - all those guys are Byron's salty uncles. Caleb literally spends more time with these guys than he does with his actual family during fire season...since the middle of June, he has been home 5 days. These guys have literally walked through everything with Caleb and me. From dating, engagement, a quick wedding to beat fire season, a complicated pregnancy where I was sick the whole time & now walking through being first-time parents with Byron. They would do anything for our family and one another. It really makes this difficult family - life - career all worth it. Knowing Caleb is working alongside "family" plays a role in ensuring one another comes home safe and makes up for the weeks and months away.
What kind of self-care practice do you utilize during fire seasons to keep your family in cadence during these dangerous times?
The best kind of self-care I can practice during these times is learning to give myself grace and get to the beach every day and dunk my hair under the water to reset, wash away tears & have a good laugh with my son.
Firefighters, EMT’s, paramedics, and police officers all considered “First Responders” - Do you feel any sort of bond with others who have a first responder as a life partner? How does this community offer one another support during these times?
I am really thankful that we are a part of the wildfire family, and yes, absolutely I do feel like we naturally have a bond to other first responder families. As a wife I feel like there is such a level of camaraderie and respect for other families and workers because we can all acknowledge the dedication and sacrifice. There is an impact of the work that these first responders do -- the effects of the job do not stop at the door of your home. Working as a first responder tends to be a way of life, and as such, it affects the family’s way of life. I think because most people in the first responder field know this …there is the wear and tear of the job, but the culture of it has created a strong support system for one another and each other's families.
The norm just a few decades ago, having kids in your early twenties, has been described as “the new punk” - an almost “counter-cultural” statement. As a young mother yourself, have you encountered any challenges or stigmas in today’s career-before-kids society?
The Greatest Adventure - Photo Jake Riffle
Oh, man. I love this question! People look at Caleb and I like we are crazy for getting married & having a kid young. You add that we got married and had that kid while Caleb was still a hand crew and we don’t own a house, and most people will straight up tell us we threw away our lives and freedom.
But Caleb and I never considered living life any other way! Once we knew we were going to get married, we both wanted to add a little one to our wild adventure as soon as we could. We have never considered children a burden to our lives but rather a sweet part of the adventure. I think having kids young keeps you young and on your toes- I swear I am outside more now as a mom of a one and half year old than I have ever been in my life! LOL!! Byron is truly the greatest gift ever given to Caleb and I!
Surfing is often used as therapy for PTSD or other stress-related issues. You and your husband both spent plenty of time surfing before getting married, before having a child, and before he committed to to the career path of being a first responder. In this light, how has surfing and beach time in general changed for you both, now that your roles have evolved?
Seea Sister + Shred Mama Taylor Amico
Beach days and surfing are so not the same as they used to be. Caleb & I fully joke about the old days when we could just go surf all day, be choosy on conditions, and just bring a towel down to go surf...
Now we are THAT full-on beach wagon family with boards strapped to it, umbrella, snacks with a dog chasing birds up and down the point, and a kid darting towards the water any chance he gets...we are quite the scene! But we love the change & I would say that Caleb and I appreciate the beach & surfing more now than we ever have in our life. It is such a healthy center ground for our family and a place where we can recharge and rest!
When Caleb is gone, I don't get to surf because I have Byron, but I’m really thankful I can take him to the beach every day- I swear a dunk in the ocean can just bring so much life back into us. The ocean is a spot that, on the hard days calms us and, on the good days rejoices with us.
Byron just got the surfing bug and loves to go with Caleb, so it's a really sweet way to reunite after Caleb has been gone for a long stretch. Man, I would rather watch my boys surf and see their love and bond than catch a wave for myself these days.
Byron + Caleb Catching Waves With Mom - Photo Yoko Kobayashi Nakamura