After two years of hard work and 6 months of extreme family sacrifice, my husband recently defended his graduate thesis and received his master’s degree. The very first thing we did (even before the poor sleep deprived man took a nap) was book a mini family vacation for the following weekend.
Over the past few months “family time,” has gradually slipped further and further down the priority list. It was the season of our life and we feel confident the sacrifices we made will pay dividends for our family, but something had to be done.
Have you ever started a deep cleaning project and stopped to take a break only to find yourself mortified by the mess you’d made? Things tend to get worse before they get better.
We put all other pressing things we had let slide over the past month on hold and picked our family up off the floor.
We visited Wisconsin Dells, staying away from most of the tourist attractions and focusing on quality, low-key, family time. We took a horse-drawn ride into Lost Canyon, boarded a “choo-choo” train in North freedom, WI, and had a morning under the big-top at Circus World in Baraboo.
As with any family vacation with small children, there were casualties. Anna was kicked by a horse, there were 4 scrapped knees, mama and the baby got too much sun, the brakes on the van died and Tessa’s ear found the not-so-friendly end of an iron stool on the train.
Amidst the excitement and wonderful family time, the cloud of stress and indecision that had been hovering over us lifted and feelings on recent big changes in our life became more clear.
I recently accepted a position at a parish to work 25 hours a week coordinating Faith Formation. The parish is wonderful and the people working in Faith Formation are wonderful. At first instinct 25 hours per week sounded like a bit much for me. I work from home 10 hours a week, freelance write, and you know- mother 3 kids 3 and under. I was offered flexibility and I do have this master’s degree in theology collecting dust on my shelf so, I signed on the dotted line.
But something funny happened while we were on vacation, taking time to enjoy each other and not letting the stresses of everyday life live in the forefronts of our minds. Somewhere between the picnic lunches, relaxing in the hot-tub and spending family time together, for the first time in recent months prayer found a way to pierce through a barrier it couldn’t break through at home:
Joseph decided this is not what he wants for his family.
I’ve been blessed with a loyal and true man. In the almost five years we’ve been married we’ve had many decisions to make. Some of them were placed upon us and out of our control (medical emergencies), and some of them we brought on ourselves through the mistakes we’ve made. And, we’ve made a lot of mistakes.
It has taken my husband a while to figure out what he wants to do “when he grows up.” It’s been hard, having him figure this out as we had 3 kids in 3 years and while he also had 2 heart surgeries in that time. He’s worked really hard to finish his master’s degree and put himself in a position to advance his career.
The only thing he has been sure of in the five years we’ve been married is that he feels called to help me fulfill my call to write. He doesn’t want me to add something to my plate that does not promote that calling, and does not want me going back to work – taking time away from my callings of motherhood and writing.
How blessed I am with a husband who feels even more strongly about my callings than I do.
I will not be going back to working outside the home after all. I’ll be sticking with my work from home job and freelancing. Since we made this decision we have received several affirmations so we are going to trust in my husband’s plan for our family, and in God, that this plan is the best one for us.
My weekend vacation led to my not going back to work.
Vacations are important (even the Pope agrees). They give us a chance to step out of our everyday responsibilities. They give us the opportunity to see our life through a different lens. This time, for us, that lens was a bit clearer and we were able to identify the mismanagement of our priority list.
There are many ways to take a vacation or “time-out” in life. Sometimes they lead to bigger and better things than souvenirs and pictures for the scrapbook. Have you taken one recently?