I write this as we fly from Sacramento back to Pensacola after a wonderful time spent with Family and Friends. It was a special adventure for many reasons and the greatest was that it was a true vacation, far more than "Taking Leave" or "Visiting Family".
One of my many flaws is that I tend to approach vacation as the latter two, and though the differences are subtle, they are important. This time, we became tourists and recharged batteries, neither of which are givens when we take leave. This trip to California was different for one reason, DELEGATION. We were able to truly delegate our parenting responsibilities to my parents (their initiative) and I was able to completely let go of my responsibilities at work.
Not living anywhere near family, we rarely have the luxury of leaving our son in the very capable hands of trusted individuals for more than a couple of hours. Such a situation denies family the opportunity to grow meaningful relationships with their grandson/nephew, as well as my wife and I the chance to take advantage of some truly unique opportunities. I am grateful that my parents gave us the time to explore and that they created the opportunity to spend three uninterrupted days alone with their grandson.
Before we left Pensacola, I made it clear to all at work that the pace of progress will not slow just because the Commanding Officer is gone. I have always believed that if we are truly committed to moving things forward, we cannot concern ourselves with who musters on any given day. In the athletic arena a true team with depth at each position can continue to execute the game plan regardless of injury. Some teams are so dependent on a few key players that if anything happens to one of them, the game significantly changes and their chance of winning dramatically diminishes. One of the most comforting things about this vacation was knowing the NIOC Pensacola Team is a team with great depth and extreme competence. Throughout 10 days of vacation, I did not receive a single e-mail or phone call from The Team, nor did I feel compelled to check in on them. It was not due to a lack of interest on my part, but a result of identification based trust (i.e. each party is able to act as an agent for the other) in a 360 degree array. They knew they had my confidence, while I knew they wanted me to enjoy my vacation.
As I prepare to go to work in the morning, I do so fully knowing The Team will inform me of the great progress made while I was gone and share how they chose to handle any unusual situations. Likewise, there will be nothing urgent awaiting my decision, as they are both fully empowered and familiar with our shared philosophy to act on my behalf.
I could not be blessed with a better Family in the traditional (blood/marriage) and figurative (NIOC-P) sense. Thanks to both families for ensuring we were able to turn our leave into a wonderful vacation.