Michael says he's going to tell everyone that I make lousy baby carriers.
Michael says that then I won't have to work any more, and I'll have more time for him!
I started my home business, Cuddle Carriers, in 1978. Michael was then 14 months old. Sewing was done in the living room, in between nursing sessions. Michael was content to play on the floor, by my feet. When I went to pick up supplies, Michael came along, strapped to my back. Sales calls were more successful with Michael along to demonstrate.
I brought him along to all my trade shows, where he would nap under my display table. When he wasn't helping to model the carrier, he was drawing a crowd by dancing on the table. Or he'd take his little ball and make friends with the other exhibitors (and great business contacts for me!). The man from Children's Playground came over to thank me for Michael's help in demonstrating his play equipment. Michael was in his element, and having the time of his life!
He became a seasoned traveller, sleeping all night on the train to Ottawa (something he never did at home!), through breakfast, waking up finally in the taxi, on the way to the trade show grounds. He was the most portable and flexible child I'd ever known. I often said that Michael would sleep standing on his head, as long as he was near me. It was easier back then. There was time to go to the local Drop-in, to visit friends, to go to the library. Orders came at a slower rate, and shows were often months apart.
Jason, my 8-year-old, loved the fact that I worked at home. It meant mornings were relaxed, since I wasn't rushing off to work. It meant not only was I there to walk him home for lunch, but I was available after school, to hear the exciting news of the day. He was interested in knowing the number of orders coming in, and wanted to know more about the baby who would use each carrier. My example inspired him, as he became anxious to invent something, and is planning to start his own business -- soon!
When we moved from our apartment and into a house, I welcomed the large office space on the third floor. Finally, I thought, I wouldn't need to clear the dining room table to serve dinner. Finally, there would be a safe place for my papers and supplies. Finally, my living room won't be knee-deep in carriers.
Only I didn't realize how I was pulling away from Michael. He weaned a few months after the move. I started leaving him with his grandmother more often. It was time to grow up! Working on the third floor meant Michael had to climb two flights of stairs to get a kiss, or to tell me he'd bumped his knee. As the business grew, I became more and more distant. When a business deal went sour, my anger and disillusionment made my pre-occupation intense.