Tomorrow marks a very important day. It is the long-awaited retail shop opening for my estate company. It is almost surreal that it is finally here after all the months, moving, money and monumental hurdles we have passed. But…it is here. The first day of what I hope to be my greatest adventure yet.
The journey has been full of many firsts. From placing first deposits on utilities, to making first assessments of what we wanted to see happen, to moving in the first truckloads of items. We experienced our first “oh great” when the bathroom ceiling caved in under the overflow of a strained water heater. We experienced our first sale to someone who came by to just take a quick peek at the store as we were moving in. There was the first full staff work day of shelving and sorting and laughing over several voices being heard from the depths of the piles every so often saying “oooh I want to buy this!” We went through our first challenge of rezoning so we could even have a storefront in the area we had chosen to make our estate home. We were never so excited as when the unanimous vote came through from the Planning Commission and the Mayor and Aldermen…and we knew we were really on our way.
This week was full of firsts in other ways too. My 6 year old granddaughter lost her first tooth and it was on the very day she started first grade. It is so funny to see her gappy little smile and hear the softest lisp when she talks or sings the songs she is learning in theater class. Her mom was a bit teary when she told me “This is the first time I will have my first child lose a tooth…ever.” I hadn’t really thought about that till she voiced it, but that is true. This is the only time the first of my grandchildren will lose the very first grandchild tooth. Ok, enough of that…misty here for a moment myself.
I thought a bit today about how that little ole tooth got loose enough to be the first tooth lost….what it had to go through, how it all came about. Lorelai has been growing teeth since the womb, even though we didn’t all see them. Enamel was forming, along with nerves and all the gooey little stuff that teeth are made of was there all along just waiting to “become”. She had to drink only milk for a very long time, then the teeth started to cut the surface and push out into the world of her mouth. Soft food was added bit by bit, then table food cut into microscopic pieces so she could chew with her tiny little tooth buds. Once the baby teeth were fully developed she could tackle anything and everything she wanted to eat.
Then…one day the tooth started feeling funny and not quite right. It kind of ached and hurt a bit. When she would chew it would zing her and zap her gums. She began to chew on one side trying to avoid using the tooth so it would feel like it used to and not hurt anymore. But eventually this wasn’t working because the tooth was loosening its grip in her gum. Her mom told her about the Tooth Fairy, how it all worked and in exchange for a tooth she would get MONEY. It made her change her whole outlook. That tooth suddenly had to go!
The next several weeks were spent wiggling it, touching her tongue to it every chance she got, pushing it and prodding it till one night this past week it finally gave way and popped right out. But it wasn’t because she was pushing and prodding and wiggling it. It was because, unknown to Lorelai, a new better tooth had formed and was making its way into her gum. It pushed its way to the surface and encouraged that baby tooth to leave.
And that is where I have been in this journey to today. Looking from the outside in, it appears I am doing something “suddenly” to most folks who know me. I hadn’t ever conducted an estate sale, but three years ago I found myself doing just that. I have never opened a storefront, but tomorrow…well, I am doing that. I haven’t decorated or staged a shop to sell vintage and antique items, and now I am. It would easily look like this business just popped up. But it didn’t.
I spent many years loving the old junk. I loved having it in my home, learning about it, buying pieces at yard sales because I couldn’t afford new stuff. People complimented me on clothing my family wore, or furniture and decor in my home, and I smiled knowing where it came from. I also learned a lot about the things I had in my home and educated myself on what a good buy was, and that is aiding me today. I spent much time three years working at my church as the back drop prop person for the church cantatas and children’s programs. I also spent two summers doing nothing but making bulletin boards for my church and the preschool where I was a teacher’s aide. So I became very adept at making something out of nothing and frugal backgrounds and staging are second nature to me.
As an employee of a local Christian Bookstore, I learned merchandising and how to set up booths and displays. When my family had a craft business many moons ago, I did the same there and spent much time putting up and tearing down displays quickly and effectively and making sure our booth stood out among the others, but was never the same any two shows. I also did professional organizing for several years and helped others get their purged items ready for sale, priced and even aided in the sales from time to time.
The most recent venture was a cleaning company where I did my own books, had a full staff, dealt with employee and customer issues daily, balanced spending against profit, did a business plan, and virtually anything that was done in that company went through me first. And all these things…from bulletin boards to business plans…were “firsts” for me then, but represented a wiggly tooth now.
All those places in my life, all those activities and moments had their day, then they were gone. It took them leaving and my life that I have now pushing through to the surface for me to know that they were all just bits of the puzzle, not the completed puzzle itself.
I could be wrong, this may not be the final thing I do. I may have yet another “tooth” under the surface and this business is only a means to an end. Time will tell. But I do know that life is not so much about the destination as it is about the journey. I also know sometimes you have to let things get pretty wiggly and scary for a while, move around a bit, and maybe even eventually fall completely away before the new growth can take up its rightful place.
But until I know differently, I will move forward…first one step, then another…till I reach that destination and I will not question the process. And with my personality, trust me…that will truly be a first.