Mother’s Day is just a few days away and it has me thinking, of course, about my mother. Take a look at the lovely photo to the left. Yup…that’s my mother and me at the grand opening of her craft store. (I’m the one in the “Little House on the Prairie” dress!) I believe I was about four years old at the time.
Today we would call my mom an entrepreneur or more recently, a “mompreneur”. She was, and still is, an incredibly crafty person. She can sew, knit, crochet and quilt. When she was a mother of two young children in the early 1970’s, she took her skills and passions and used them to open her own business. It was most definitely a family business. My dad made jewelry to sell and helped with the administrative end of the business when he wasn’t at his “real” job. When my brother and I were out of school, we were right there in the store with my mom. I remember creating my imaginary store under the tables with my Fisher Price cash register, sneaking sips of my mom’s coffee and once, falling in a nearby creek. Thankfully, my big brother was around to pull me out of the water!
Perhaps my fondest memory involved lady bugs and magnets. When I was about 7 years old, I decided that I was going into the refrigerator magnet business. I took red and black pompoms, black beads and a couple of wiggly eyes. I glued them together, stuck a magnet on the bottom and created what I thought was the most beautiful lady bug magnet that ever existed. My mother stuck them on a metal cookie sheet and displayed them in her store, right alongside of her items. She even submitted them to a consignment craft store a few hours away from our hometown.
Well…I didn’t make a fortune on my homemade lady bug magnets. In fact, the consignment store turned them down and just a few sold in our store (I think the ladies who bought them were my grandmother’s friends). But the lessons I learned were invaluable. I learned that pride and accomplishment go hand in hand with hard work and persistence. I learned that even a kid can try out a business adventure. And, most importantly, I learned that even though some people may not like or appreciate what you have done, you can still learn from it and keep moving forward. It was the blossoming of an inner strength that I still carry with me today.
I am sure it would have been easier for my Mom to simply put the ladybug on her refrigerator and pat me on the head. But she encouraged and enabled me to try to take it to the next level. Thanks, Mama, for letting me make those little lady bugs.