perhaps it was the nonchalant beginning of my new vocational turn that has deterred me from writing about it here. i did not nail any sort of interview or quake at the sound of god’s summoning. there was no light bulb hovering over my head.
there were late-january margaritas (plural) at las delicias. there was the company of my husband and my children and my friend and neighbor, susan. and then, out of some space in susan’s consciousness reserved for the purely hypothetical, there was the suggestion that she and i open a fabric store. twenty minutes later, there was an impromptu tour of a not-so-hypothetical-at-all space that was for rent at 688 south cox.
was this a serious suggestion, this fabric store idea? i really did not think it was. in fact, i forgot all about it long enough to get the kind of wonderful sleep that happens when my mind is mulling over… nothing! but slowly, over the next few days, i began to feel anÂ unprecedentedÂ level ofÂ excitement.
i spent more and more time building up the contours of this hypothetical world, designed to celebrate a craft that generations of women have passed down to the next. susan seemed to be living into the idea too, as we exchanged visions of offering sewing classes, building community around an age-old pass time, and of course, selling fabulous fabric!
i don’t even know when the dream shifted to reality. it was sometime between when we started calling it “sew memphis,” and where we are now, spending each day at 688 south cox pricing over 100 bolts of fabric for our may 1st opening. perhaps it was mid-february when we had this picture taken:
last night i read this new york times essay, proud to be a mompreneur, by jill salzman. as i took in the debate about whether or not female business owners should hide or showcase their roles as mothers, i felt different than i usually do when i read about women in business. i am one of these people now!
and as i quickly scrolled through recent memory, it became clear that i have traded the so-called “professionalism” that some think comes with downplaying the motherhood role for a more integrated, transparent, vocational model.
my children help me paint and stock shelves.
we have a playroom in the shop where the kids spend at least half of their days. i have definitely not, as salzman writes, “rejected the mom label.” i also worry about things that more “professional” women probably don’t worry about, such as the sand that my children transport from the school playground to the shop by way of their shoes, and the toys that must be put away before we leave the shop each day. being a mompreneur is gritty. literally.
but i have to believe salzman when she writes,
a parent who can manage the juggling and the balancing that is both running a company and raising a family is someone who can handle anything.
and i also have to believe that even though this adventure has unfolded with margaritas instead of light bulbs and introspection instead of interviews, it is the right thing for me to do. it comes from a place of deep gladness, as frederick buechner writes. and much of this gladness comes from sharing this creative chaos with my children.