Saturday, April 30, 2011

Like many young girls, my daughter used to dream of dating Prince William. Now it seems that wasn't too far-fetched after all. She tells me that if we had just sent her to the right school, who knows what might have happened. This is my daughter, photo-shopped into this photo with William (thanks to our son-in-law). While I can laugh, I secretly realize I would never want this for her. Is Kate's mother feeling the same for Kate?

I'll admit it: I watched 'the' wedding; just as I watched his mother and father's wedding 30 years ago (except that I could tape this one to watch it on my time - yeah to progress). In 1981, I got my 4 year old daughter up to watch it, feeling history was in the making. The importance of the event never did hit her but she joked that she was going to get her 3 year old daughter up to watch this one in the spirit of what mothers do with their daughters.

As I watched Diana's wedding, I was creating advice for her in my head. I felt at the time that the similarities in our lives were astonishing (okay - maybe they were more in my head, too). I also married young; to a man just a few years older but we had different tastes in music and other things, just as Charles and Diana experienced. It was a stretch, I recognize now with the benefit of maturity. I really can't think how I imagined my life paralleled Diana's beyond that.

Watching this wedding, I was thinking more of Kate's mother than Kate. How strange to sit across the aisle from your daughter's new family and realize her new grandmother is the Queen of England. All I could think of is 'My God, she'll never be able to talk to her friends again." You know how we talk as women (at least to our most intimate friends); we share the trials and tribulations of our children; our difficulties with our spouses ... We talk to feel better. We say things we don't really mean in the process of figuring life out for ourselves. Kate's mother's intimate circle just become much smaller.

I was also struck by how overwhelming all of this must be for her mother and father. Successful entrepreneurs they may be but what could have prepared them for this immersion into royalty? I wouldn't be surprised if the 'princess classes' that Kate is taking extend to protocol classes for her entire family.

While each of us may think of our daughters as princesses, there's will actually become a Queen. They will have to curtsy to their daughter one day. At least they get to ease in to it while Kate wears the role of Duchess first.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Next Step

Three months now since I closed my business. Three months of waiting for official word of what my next steps will be. Not exactly clear on who is going to send me the message but I'm certainly waiting for the curtain to part and all to become known. After all, the shop was brought to me in much this way so I'm sure it's going to happen again.

Funny thing is, I am well aware that life doesn't happen to us behind closed doors. It's through chance encounters; arranged meetings; fun social events; and any number of other ways that we interact with people, that opportunities present themselves to us.

Trouble is, I have been behind closed doors for these three months. Small annoying things kept getting in my way of getting out. Slipping on the ice put me out for three weeks or so; a sore heel of the sort that athletes suffer from (how on earth I got it I do not know) has been ongoing; sinus infection ... After a while I began to suspect that the universe was sending me a message - "Sit back. We're not ready for you yet."

Finally went for my walk to the lake this morning. It just feels like time for me to take control again. Besides, the sun was shining.

OK Universe. I've taken the first steps. I await your next instructions.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Having it All

Just watched 'Eat, Pray, Love'. I was the only person I knew who found the book to be a story of extreme self-absorption of the type that not many of us can indulge in. Watching the movie, though, made me realize how similar our quests actually were. While I'm not recovering from a lost love, I AM seeking to understand what my next step in life will be.

In January, I closed my business of four years; an elegant little shop that allowed me to immerse myself in all things beautiful; challenge myself with what I am capable of; and to meet some wonderful women doing so. It was a labour of love and one I feel blessed to have been able to pursue. But, for many reasons, I decided to close.

I'm doing my best not to stress over what I should now be doing. My husband is encouraging me to take my time in this - to enjoy the transition. Certainly I'm enjoying our ability to spend time together again. Running a business, while personally rewarding, was a large impediment to our relationship. How could someone working six or seven days a week and out many evenings (and who talked about the business incessantly) be fully engaged in anything other than the business?

The joys I experienced as a business owner were all MY joys. The new friends I've made through the business are MY friends. All of it was MY experience; not ours.

So, how is it that we are told we can 'have it all'? We can be wives, mothers, career women, attentive friends ... And we can be good at all of it, too. This was the message of my youth, the generation that followed the ground-breaking feminists.

Well, I now get it. No one, male or female, can have it all. At least not all at one time. Our lives are journeys with emphasis on different things throughout.

When our children are young, the family is healthier when at least one parent is fully engaged in their daily lives. In our family, it was primarily my role while my husband traveled for his career. I was excited when my children reached an age that I could return to school. The business was a natural next step in this exploration of 'having it all'.

What I didn't realize during the combined years of school and entrepreneurship was that I was developing me but diminishing my relationships. Everyone around me; my husband; my children and grandchildren; my parents; my friends; seemed to compromise their needs while I was busy pursuing my wants. Of course, they didn't voice this - they were all proud of what I was doing.

Having to schedule time (around events in the shop) for the birth of my twin grandsons helped me to see how difficult life was getting.

How, then, is it possible to explore our capabilities without jeopardizing the most important facets of our lives - the people we love? This question deserves discussion. I plan to bring it up often to hear the experiences and perspectives of others.