Sunday, March 3, 2013
Best Laid Plans
I am currently reading a lovely book, The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, by Wendy Welch -- the story of a couple who opens a used bookstore in a small southern town. This book speaks to me and to the dreams I once held in my heart.
Looking back, I realize I have always had an entrepreneural spirit. Although my chosen path as I came of age in the 1960's was to be a full-time Mom, there were always precious dreams of the options open to me when my children were older.
As my best friend and I sat together in our living rooms in the 1970's, surrounded by little children and toys, we talked of opening a little downtown lunch place someday, serving our homemade soups and breads to busy State workers. We both loved to cook, and this seemed like a wonderful business that would work well for us. But, this was not to be. She ended up as one of those busy State workers, herself, and I spent my days doing the administrative work for our family electrical construction business. I still think of that dream as I simmer soup on the stove and lovingly ladle its warmth and flavor out to family and friends.
In the 1990's and very early 2000's, my dream was to open a small antique, gift or used-book shop when my daughter finished high school. It was a prosperous time of nostalgia for the Victorian era -- shops such as these were numerous and successful. I treasured this dream of mine -- picturing a shop in an old building with lots of character -- warm wood, coffee, tea, mulled cider for sipping, comfy chairs here and there, fresh flowers -- and personal attention to the needs of my customers. A lovely dream.
But, reality has been much different -- struggles in the mid-2000's to keep our failing construction business afloat, and the birth of my precious grandchildren. Once these little ones were born, my dreams of a quaint shop were replaced with the strong desire to care for them while their mothers worked. Since the first day I began this new chapter of my life in 2007, I have never regretted my decision. I provide them with safety, security and unconditional love, and I am rewarded with hugs, kisses, and innocent trust. I believe I am doing the most important work I could do.
However, there are days when I do miss the dream -- the little shop, the flowers, books, antiques, and the aroma of coffee. As I read this book about the used bookstore, I am enchanted by the life the owners lead and the people who frequent their shop. The dream is still vivid in my heart, but my best laid plans have been replaced by a calling much more important -- a change in plans I will never regret.