I watched the sunset below the trees as my daughter stared out looking over the lake. I didn’t want to leave. Life called for me though, and soon we would be returning to the business of a life I did not want. My wife and I had taken a much needed vacation, but all too soon it was over with. Tomorrow morning, shortly after sunrise, we would be packing up to head out.
I ached to remain here. This place was safety. It was an escape from a world that was ever changing and always consumed in business. For far too long, I had stayed in that rat race, always chasing the next dream and striving so hard to get ahead. Yet it was here I found peace. Here, time slowed down and I was able to just be. My daughter, barely 2 years old, was already growing faster than I wanted to admit. Our son, just a baby, would soon be walking and talking just as she was.
“Owen,” my mom often said when she called, “You work too much.” I knew she was right, but I couldn’t stop. I wanted my family to have the best they could, and working hard was the way to get there. Yet this past week had brought more joy and laughter in my family than we had in a long time. Was I crazy to think there might be another way?
My wife and I had met in college. I was a business major and took my studies seriously. She was an art major and went along with the flow of daily life. She often longed for something simpler though. It had taken five years of marriage and the sweet brown eyes of his young daughter staring up at me as she begged to go on a vacation to convince me to take a week off. In all honestly, I wanted to just take a day. I struggled with the idea of taking a whole week and tried to convince Jo it was best to do a day trip, but my wife wasn’t so easily convinced. I felt aggravated at first, especially when Adeline begged me. It wasn’t right for my wife to use our daughter to get her own way. Still it was hard to say no to those eyes.
When I put in for my first vacation in the eight years I’ve worked for Fruit Shack as their COO, my coworkers asked if someone had died. I never missed. Ever. When my daughter was born at 2:03am on July 25, I showed up to work by 8:09am. When my son was born in May almost two years later at 2:32pm, I left work at 2:00pm and made it to the hospital just in time to hold my wife’s hand as she brought our son into the world.I never missed work.