We took another first step this past weekend…
We did our first craft show, which is held twice a year at one of the area high schools. It’s one of the larger spring craft shows in our area, so we definitely jumped right into the part of the pool where we knew the water would be deeper than we were tall.
But we didn’t drown. And that feels like a win.
Kirk asked me for weeks before the event if I felt like we were in good shape. Or maybe he asked if I was feeling okay about what I had left to get done… Either way, what my brain heard and my response went something like this:
Kirk (according to my brain)- Are you panicking about what needs to get done?
Me- I don’t seem to be. I think we’re good.
Spoiler alert: I should have been panicking more than I was—at least a little bit.
In my head, I knew how much time we had left until the event, and I had an idea of how much of that time I could put into getting ready for the craft show. I knew what I needed to get done before the craft show, and I knew how long those things should take. In ballparking my time budget, I felt like I was okay.
But ballparking any kind of budget can be tricky… I like to think of time in terms of an actual household budget. I might feel like I’m okay knowing that I’ve got the mortgage, bills, and groceries covered. I know that there might not be much to spare, but I’ll make it. That is, until reality hits. Maybe a certain teenager hits a growth spurt and eats three times his normal amount followed by needing to replace all of his pants with taller ones. Or maybe you’ve forgotten that this is the month that the car registrations are due, or the annual life insurance policy gets billed.
Somehow reality hijacked my time budget. Maybe it was a car ride or twelve with Nolan that we seemed to have time for… Or maybe a meltdown took priority over me bending tiny metal rings on earrings or squashing snaps with my snap setting tool.
Whatever the cause, I felt it all catching up with me on Friday night. I stayed up too late trying to get things done. The later I was up, the more tired I got. The more tired I got, the more mistakes I made. The more mistakes I made, the slower I moved.
Clearly, "My Very Discreet Tampon Bag" was one of the casualties of my exhausted brain.
It was like losing your footing on a steep hill and sliding slowly down the side. I could see what was happening, but I struggled to stop it. And all the while, I could see myself moving farther and farther from where I wanted to be.
While I did manage to not have a full-on panic attack, I did tell myself some horrible things. I told myself that I was failing and that meant that I was a failure. I told myself I was kidding myself if I’d ever believed I could be successful in this or any other venture. I told myself that I was screwing over my son and my family—that I should just quit before I really embarrassed myself and my boys.
Eventually, though, the devil on my shoulder needed to take a breath in between insults. The angel on my other shoulder seized the opportunity to whisper a simple, “All is not lost.” Somehow that gave me an opportunity to take my own deep breath and think logically for a minute.
Everything else that I had already accomplished still existed. The dozens of pairs of earrings that were already done hadn’t evaporated just because we didn’t have more gnomes finished. And the preparation I’d done to get our space presentable wasn’t gone just because I was having trouble with one of the items I’d hoped to offer.
The day ended up going better than I had feared. We made some sales, I saw some friends and acquaintances that I’d been out of touch with, and Nolan got to pick out a treat from the Amish bakers. I even took Nolan on a walk to check out all of the other vendors and didn’t spend more than we made over the course of the day!
The only thing I did buy myself was a bucket of bread from the local Bucket of Bread guy. He started his business locally just under a year ago, and his booth was right behind ours. I’d been super curious to try their product for several months, so after listening to the owner talk about the wonder that is a bucket of bread, I could no longer resist. And after the Stromboli and loaf of bread I made Sunday night, I have no regrets (So. Freaking. Yummy.) It was the treasure I didn’t expect to find. And it was encouraging to see someone who was just a few months ahead of where we are now who was rocking it.
By the time the day was over, I was beyond exhausted. I’m fairly certain I laid down before 9:00 Saturday night, and it’s probably been decades since I did that last.
But when I did lay down Saturday night, even though my entire body hurt from loading everything in and out of our space, I felt better than I had Friday night. Instead of the worry and self-doubt that plagued me the night before, I accepted the fact that I’m human and sometimes feel like I’m inadequate, failing at life, or just generally screwing things up. That’s part of being human.
As long as we don’t let the feelings of inadequacy drive our actions, and as long as we’re learning and growing through the experiences that led us through those feelings, we’re winning. We’re human, and it’s okay to sometimes not be at the top of your game. In fact, I often feel like it’s the not being on top that usually teaches us how to move toward better.
So in the coming weeks, months, years—however long this lasts—I hope that we keep learning and moving toward better. Would I do this again? Absolutely—it’s the kind of opportunity that we’ll grow from and use to give Nolan the same opportunity.
And it’s good that I’d do it again, because it sounds like our next opportunity to learn, grow, craft, and probably burn ourselves on the hot glue gun is just around the corner. We got an email Monday morning inviting us to the next big local craft show coming up on April 9th. You bet your ass I signed us up.
So we’ll see you soon with more gnomes, earrings and who knows what else. But for now, I’ve got to rest up for tomorrow, because these tiny metal rings are not going to bend themselves.