As this goes to press I’ll be on a long overdue staycation.
Not to be confused, I’m not a staffer who is shy about taking hard earned vacation time. My children are still young and life is indeed too short so I break away whenever possible. So much so that it’s become the recurring newsroom joke that I’m the resident pro when it comes to submitting our “new and improved” online time off request.
Make no mistake; our field is no different than most, leaving for vacation does not equal less work. The days leading up to and returning from are stacked double, to ensure there is plenty in the queue to fill the pages. Matter of fact, I’ll be reading and completing a book that I must review for our next 209 Magazine while away, but that’s not really work, right?
Looking ahead, I’m excited for some quality time with my children. While I’m good at sneaking a day here, another there … I don’t, however, recall the last time I took a week off to simply stay home or local, which is a more fair assessment.
I also don’t recall the last time I did not have to work on my children’s birthday (unless it was a weekend) and they will both be celebrating birthdays that week. Oh I can hear the critics now, who takes time off for a kid’s birthday? Our parents worked on our birthdays growing up.
While I recognize that it is not necessity, I still struggle with the contrast of the way I thought this life as mom would shake out versus how it has. It was never my goal or idea to work full-time while raising my two kids. A divorce altered that path and while I don’t live with regret, there are certain things which I still wish didn’t pay the price of growing up in a one parent home. Quality time with my two humans is paramount.
So I’m taking some vacation time.
Aside from a two-day getaway to hike with my son and a day of pampering spent with my daughter; there is little I know about the week or how it will play out. What I do know is I won’t be checking e-mail. I won’t be replying to work-related text messages, which yes find us at all hours, in all circumstances with no acknowledgement of personal time.
I’m taking back my personal time. Flying under the radar as much as possible and simply connecting back with the life that fuels me.
Doing what you love by way of profession is indeed a gift; however, time waits for no one. So as I look to the maturing faces of my two children, listen to my mother as she offers varying doctor’s reports I feel called to take this time.
Sure, vacation time is precious. We work long and hard to earn those hours, yet there is no price or prize which can outweigh the memories, love and life which we are able to enjoy with those we love.
And therein lies the simplicity of what this all means. Whether you spend your days and nights surrounded by your children and family or must take stolen moments to squeeze it in – find a way. In the end, what we did and how much we earned will mean very little. The memories however, the laughter, the love, the life … that is where true legacy lies. Happy Summer.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.