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Our Story Begins: A Much Needed Break

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Our Story Begins:
A Much Needed Break

I took a break.

Not a massive one, not a sabbatical or anything like that. I actually took a vacation. I went to the Midwest and visited my family.

I know what some of you are thinking: “family?! That’s not a vacation! How is going to see relatives a vacation?!”

That’s the thing, it really is. Not just a trip out of town for me and my four kids but actually a break for me, though I hadn’t intended it that way.

I have described my day before as sort of a “work sandwich.” I get up in the morning, get the kids ready for their day, usually school, get myself ready for work, head out the door, drop them off, go to work, and get through the work day. 9 hours later I head home, change clothes, cook dinner, wash up, make lunches for the next day, maybe do a few loads of laundry.

When cheap plane tickets came up for me to visit my folks I decided it was necessary.  I used to balk at the price of flying five of us out of town. I don’t any more. When my wife passed away in 2011 I decided that not seeing family was something that was going to stop. My parents, brothers, family are all we have. We need to be together and the opportunities don’t arise often.

So I flew out last week and saw my folks.

Imagine my surprise when I realized a couple things: one, I never realized how I don’t really get a break. As a single dad I cook, clean, work, all that. Take work away on weekends and you still have cook and clean. It’s the single parenting version of “shower, rinse, repeat.”

When I left town I don’t cook. I don’t do laundry. It’s a week of just being here and it’s funny how I’m almost more tired.  I’ve helped around the house, cleaned up some trees, cut branches, worked in the yard and the garage.  In the first 24 hours I smelled like dirt, gasoline and grease and I loved every minute.  I was covered in sawdust. Still loved it.

Related: 10 From GEM: 10 Ways To Relax After A Long Day

When I realized, after talking with someone back home, that I hadn’t cooked a meal in just a couple days I was floored. It’s amazing how much different it really does seem when there’s even one let alone more people helping you do that work.  Even though I help clean and cook it’s not solely my responsibility.

It’s just seven days, not a big change and not something that will change my routine.

But I’m recharging my batteries this way without even realizing I’m doing it. That’s pretty amazing. Even the opportunity to not cook dinner is worth its weight in gold.

And seeing my family . . . that’s just the frosting on the cake.

What about you?  Do you ever get to recharge your batteries for real?  Or do you end up working even when you’re “off”?

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