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Joy In The Journey-Vacation

Joy In The Journey-Vacation

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By Jonathan Oliver

I have often heard people say absence makes the heart grow fonder. My spouse and I took our first vacation together this past week without our daughter Journey. My mother-in-law came into town the day before we left for vacation to get settled in to watch after our baby girl. From the moment I picked my mother-in-law up at the airport, I was like a kid anticipating the day before their birthday. I was filled with excitement and relaxation because I knew for the next four days I was going to be relieved of my stay at home dad duties.

I didn’t have feelings that I deserved a vacation, nor a feeling of entitlement. What I was feeling was exhaustion, and I needed a vacation to get recharged. Before I became a stay-at-home dad, I used to speak for a nonprofit organization called Rachel’s Challenge. That company allowed me to touch people’s lives and I was on the road sometimes up to 250 days a year. It wasn’t unusual for me to have a dozen flights in a week. So as I checked into the airport, I felt like I was seeing a familiar friend. I’m that weird guy that loves everything about traveling, from packing up my bag, to speaking to random people, to managing the stress of delayed flights; I love it all. I love the hustle and bustle.

It also dawned on me that this was our first vacation together since my wife was six months pregnant. So it had been right at a year since the last time we had gone somewhere together for an extended stay. So I was looking for the opportunity to not only recharge, but more importantly, to reconnect. I knew our daughter was in completely good hands with my mother-in-law.

So we couldn’t think of a better place to unwind than Napa Valley, California. As I tasted my first glass of wine and began to soak in the gorgeous Napa Valley views, I quickly realized that this wasn’t going to be like any other vacation I had experienced. In fact this wasn’t going to be like any other vacation my spouse and I had experienced together. As much fun as we were having and as much as we enjoyed reconnecting, Journey was never far from our thoughts. My wife would check in with my mother-in-law periodically, and my mother-in-law did a great job updating us with beautiful pictures of Journey. But nothing could replace holding our daughter close and feeling her soft skin. I missed playing with her toes when giving her a bottle and nibbling on her ears before kissing her cheeks.

I slept like a baby knowing I did not have to wake up until I was ready. I relished in the adult conversations I was having with people that were actually able to talk back (Journey isn’t quite there yet). As I boarded a plane to return home from recharging and reconnecting, I realized no matter how much fun I had on vacation, I never felt complete. I always felt like something was off, like something was missing. It wasn’t until I was back at home and were both hugging and kissing Journey that I felt completely whole again. Because in that moment, I had the two most important things in my life; my girls.

Jonathan Oliver is an experienced motivational speaker, life coach, and author.  He is the CEO of his company Higher Enlightenment which strives to create a world of truth, love, and faith.  He was born and raised in Texas and now lives with his wife and their first child Journey in Owasso, OK. He is a first time stay at home dad. His contact information is on and follow him on facebook at


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