Those of you who read my blog regularly might know that I was supposed to have been at Market in Atlanta for the past week. Instead, my mom and I quietly and unexpectedly cancelled our trip at the eleventh hour. We were all set to go--our customized binders with maps and floorplans had been assembled and highlighted (the former teacher in me just can't resist) and we were starting to pack--when we had to put the breaks on. This is one of those times that life interrupted our best laid plans. My dad was first diagnosed with skin cancer a few years ago, but in the past year it's taken an aggressive turn, the symptoms of which were missed and misdiagnosed for way too long (as he scheduled appointment after appointment, insisting that someone listen to him). Last week, he met with new specialists who gave him a prognosis and recommended a course of treatment. The prognosis and treatment plan were scheduled to be handed down the very day we were to leave for Atlanta, and neither my mom nor I felt right about leaving town with so much uncertainty. And so there I was last week, sitting in my office in near disbelief, waiting on hold to talk to the people at the hotel and the airline to cancel our arrangements for the trip we've been planning for the past six months. We felt completely at peace, yet it was still a bit surreal. Not go to Market?
Fortunately, the prognosis the new doctors gave my dad sounds better than the one he was previously given, so we are feeling more hopeful. He'll begin radiation in just a few weeks, after some additional testing has been completed. We are believing and praying for the best possible outcome.
So what did we do last week instead? We very gratefully waltzed out the shop door and allowed Zoey and Jamie to take over full responsibilities for the week. I tried to stay away as much as possible, hiding in broad daylight while I went about the business of "normal" life. It felt so weird to do certain activities at certain times of the day that I'm normally behind my cash wrap--like spend several hours in the middle of the day playing with my sixteen month old niece, going out for chips, salsa, and a margarita with a friend at 4:30 in the afternoon, taking an impromptu trip to my favorite store (a major national retailer with an independent shop feel) to browse and soak in the inspiration. While our mind was still on ordering and the concerns of our shop, we forced ourselves to focus more on the big picture of our lives.
With a business like mine, it's so easy to just let the myriad details and pressures sweep you away and pull you under the tide. As I've said before, shop ownership is a lifestyle, not just a dazzlingly fun choice for the artist-cum-merchant. It looks brilliant and fanciful and dreamy from the outside, but truly, this business will kick your a$$ if you let it! And yes, we've been letting it.
Between my dad's being sick and some other things that have transpired in my personal life over the past couple of months, I have realized that no matter how wonderful I desire the shop to be for customers, the shop can not be the totality of my life. My LIFE must be wider than these four walls and my mode of conversation deeper and more expansive. I need to have a little more fun. I need to walk around feeling like Abby more of the time than I feel like "Abby the boutique owner."
So if you stop by the shop and don't see me, don't be surprised. I'm probably here, just working behind the scenes, making all the gears spin so that what you see out on the sales floor can happen. I'm not stepping back or stepping away, simply stepping more into the role of proprietor, one who realizes that the beauty and power of any enterprise is not in the hands of any one person, but in the beauty and power of a carefully and purposefully hand-selected team (which we are so blessed to have). I'm repositioning myself for this next season, believing that all things work together for good and that a little bit of a retreat is just what I need to keep the wonderment in bloom.