The last days of being a shop keeper

Elizabeth in profile

When my Pea was in Prep she came home with a drawing of her as a grown up. Behind the somewhat bobble headed, triangular dressed human form there was row upon row of lines with funny blobby shapes between them.  Being the considerate, new age parent  I said “tell me more about these lines in your drawing” (i actually said “what the hell are these funny blobby shapes between the lines babe”)

“Shelves of nappies mummy” she replied. “When I grow up I’m going to be a shop keeper, just like you.”.

At the time I was on the precipice of closing my business.  Not the I’ve-had-enough-of-this-gig-i’m-off-to-find-the-sun kind of closing but closing of the we-can-no-longer-pay-the-bills-walk-out-and-shut-the-door ilk.  It was an emotional time, to say the least.  Seeing my daughter aspire to be like me, to be a shop keeper, made me cry a bucket more tears than I already had.  The pride that she wanted to be just like me made me cry.  The terror that she thought being a ‘shop keeper’ was a noble profession made me cry.  The fact that at age five, she had the innate ability to understand the difference between ‘working in a shop’ and ‘being a shop keeper’, you guessed it, made me cry.

There’s not, in my opinion, enough people keeping shop these days. Not enough people who believe commerce and compassion can co-exist. Not enough people who really care about what they sell. Care about who they sell it to.  And care about how they sell it to them.

After six years.  Countless late nights.  Seventy hour weeks.  Hours away from my girls.  Thousands of nappies.  Hundreds of beautiful babies.  Scores of lovely mummies (and daddies).  Much love.  Some sweat.  Buckets of tears.  Heat ache.  Fear.  Doubt.  Joy.  Learning.  Selling.  Folding.  Fluffing.  Talking.  Tidying.  Worrying.  I’m not sure where to anchor this bit of my heart. The bit that knows making people feel good and supported and confident about what they’re buying, is important.

I’ve learned more owning this little business than I ever thought possible.  I’ve met more special people than I dreamed.  I’ve found my passion.  I’ve proved commerce and compassion can co-exist. And somewhere in there I hope I made someones parenting journey just a little bit more enjoyable that it might otherwise have been.

I know this baby can’t be mine forever.  I actually don’t want it to be.  But I’m struggling to think of a better way to spend my working days and better folk to be on the journey with.

E x

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