What does Labor Day weekend mean to you? Do you see it as a remembrance of the contributions made by early members of the workforce? Is it a chance to take a break from work for a long weekend? Is it a normal weekend for you and not much else?
For the majority of us, it’s the latter. And if you don’t believe me, just walk into Lowe’s (one of my jobs) or any retailing company and you’ll see all of the crazy sales going on because people will be home either grilling, working on home projects, or just taking a rest. For me, it’s usually been just another weekend working and working some more.
Ever since before my kids were born, I’ve worked at least two jobs. Much of it was spent working at least 80 hours a week and wishing I had more time with my family. Up until this past year, this was my life and this was usually what went through my mind. I would get up and see my wife and kids for maybe an hour before having to leave for work around 8 am. If I got lucky, I might be able to come home for maybe a few minutes between jobs. Although that didn’t happen very often.
My workday would finally come to an end around 10 pm or so when I would come home and say goodnight to already sleeping kids and get to talk to my wife for a short while before going to sleep and doing it all again the following day. This was my norm for a little over ten years. I missed my kids’ life, all of it. I was around but I wasn’t really around. I would look at them every night and wonder how their day was, trying to hold back crying because I felt more and more like my kids are going to grow up and before I know it I’ve missed their whole life and they are going to hate me because I was never there for or with them. And I think if things kept going much longer, life (or lack thereof) would have gotten the better of me.
Then, in March of 2019, everything changed. I ended up falling out of my attic and shattering my right heel. A month later I fell off of my knee scooter and broke my wrist. Both required corrective surgery with plates, screws, pins, the whole nine yards. After a spring and half of a summer of pain and recovering, I was ready to start slowly getting back to work. Shortly after starting my return to work, I get told that my primary job is closing and can no longer pay me. My only other source of income was a part-time job at Lowe’s. Because of this, my wife and I had to sell our house and luckily we had grandparents who took all of us in and that’s where we’ve been since.
Now, there is a silver lining in all of this. For all of the bad luck that we’ve had last year (and of course we are now in the infamous 2020), the good side of all of this is that for better or worse, we have been given a chance to start relatively fresh. I still work at Lowe’s (full time now, hopefully not for much longer), and I have a second job doing transcription from home. Those last two words mean all the difference, from home. I may be working, but half of my day or more is now spent at least around my family in some capacity. I may be at my computer but I can still see my wife and kids, and most importantly, I’m there most nights for dinner and there almost every night to put my kids to bed. I’ve had more meals with them this past year than I have for the entire lifespan of my kids.
Breanne and I have also started our own business with this blog as well as a second website and blog offering graphic design services and film reviews and recommendations. This is what I’m focusing on as my ticket out of Lowe’s and into being a full time at the home worker who can see his family whenever he wants. I’ve worked more in the last decade than most “normal” people would have worked in two or more decades. I’ve missed the bulk of my kids’ young lives, I will not miss anymore. This is my goal, my priority, my purpose.
What does Labor Day mean to you? Have you been in the same position as me and have been able to change to make things work? I hope that by reading this you will see that life can turn around. I haven’t fully gotten there yet but it’s in the works and I’m hoping and praying that this blog and our other will be what will take us there. I hope you all have a great weekend doing whatever you decide to do. Hope to see you again soon!
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