As most of you know, I have been away from the shop quite a bit lately to celebrate my son's graduation from high school and then to move him to college. His university has a summer early-start program for freshmen, intended to help them ease into the rigors of college life and learning and we dropped him off earlier this week. He seems to be having a wonderful time and I am happy for him. I am not doing quite as well. I've had some embarrassing emotional displays like bursting into tears at the grocery store when I realized I probably didn't need to buy our usual four gallons of milk and thirty-six eggs for the week. You would think that would make me happy! Our younger children are spending the week at their grandparents' house and last night I was able to make a complete supper for my husband and I from a small bag of scallops, two homegrown tomatoes, and one avocado, probably a fourth of what I would normally need for a meal! I've taken to wearing sunglasses everywhere in case of sudden crying fits. As Mireille Guiliano advises, it prevents crows feet and makes you look mysterious, so why not?
I remember once when my son was small and I was sad to have weaned him already, I read an article in a parenting magazine in which the author pointed out you would not want your child to never grow up, really. There are, after all, children with diseases and impairments that prevent them from ever living independently. It's a constant struggle though, to really savor your time with children while still providing the necessary discipline. Everything is so hectic. "The days are long but the years are short", as the saying goes. It seems like we've been through a blur of sleep deprivation and homework, laughter and tears and commuting and now BAM! It's over in the blink of an eye. How I would love to have, just for a little while, my sweet toddler returned to me. My baby boy who would introduce me by saying, "This is my best friend, Mommy."
In order to prevent myself from spending all my time lying around in my bathrobe while sobbing and drinking wine, which is really all I feel like doing right now, I am throwing myself into work. I have enough of it. The housework alone is daunting. All month I've come home long enough to wash all the dirty clothes in the suitcases and then pack them up and leave again. Since the pets have all been here the house smells like a barn. On one of my trips I picked up a big box of my childhood toys so I have an enormous amount of action figures and dolls and things from the late 1970s to the mid 1980s in the restoration process or already listed. I am having a huge auction event on eBay while we speak. Besides the vintage dolls and toys, you can find fashions for babies all the way to adults, electronics, housewares, and more. I am adding more items each day. It's fun to look back and remember how I treasured the Care Bears and My Little Ponies and Barbie dolls. When I look at them I can still picture the long-ago Easter baskets and Christmas stockings that held them, and I can still feel the joy. I guess that's what I need to hold onto: that joy is still there. My sweet baby is always with me and I can hold onto him in my heart while still enjoying all the wonders life has in store for his future.
I have been blessed with a mentee recently as well. A teenage doll collector contacted me about putting a doll on layaway for her and it took me right back to my 11-year-old self. My mother took me to the Hudson Belk department store in downtown Raleigh because Madame Royal of the Royal Doll Company was visiting the store. I purchased a doll on layaway (my mother felt this was an important skill I would need to learn) and Madame Royal signed it. I still have that doll and the catalogue from that year. My teen collector confided she sometimes feels like she's crazy, but I was able to advise her she is absolutely not. My personal doll collection is worth thousands of dollars now and my business is based on selling and restoring dolls. I told her she should view her passion as an investment. Her collection will grow in value as she ages and as the dolls become even more scarce and she is training her eye to use in the future to become a more-skilled investor or even to build a business as I have. That girl came along just at the right moment for me. She helped me realize that even when my children are all grown and gone I can still have an impact on other people's lives. I can still teach them and help them grow. I was trained by the best, after all!
My name is Amanda, but my childhood nickname was "Mandaline". I am a mother of three turning my passion for creating into a full-time business.