Why is this decision so hard?
| "Go!", her mother told her. "It's time to go into the desert." It was one of her mother's favorite admonitions when there was some serious soul seaching to do.|
"You need to spend some time alone and figure this out without any feedback from us. And here, take these with you," she said handing her two of her favorite bottles of wine. "You need to relax and stop beating yourself up over this. Go on! We will catch up with you tomorrow afternoon."
So that is how Cat wound up here, savoring a chilled glass of White Peach Sangria and listening to the waves lap the shoreline at Whalehead Beach. The full moon was rising over the horizon; its image reflected on the rippling surface to the ocean. She heaved a small sigh and settled back in the lounge chair on the upper deck of the house she rented for one last summer fling with her family and friends. Tonight she was alone, hoping the ocean would send her the answers she needed on those rolling waves. Unfortunately, no answers were forthcoming. From her seat on the upper deck, she could see the outlines of the dunes on either side of the house and the shadowed remains of the ship wreck on the beach near the house. Taking a long sip of the wine, she smiled. She had big plans for that wreck on the morrow.
Just as quickly, the smile left her lips. Plans. That was what was troubling her. Her plans. She had seemed so certain of the next step to fulfilling a long time dream. Then the fire happened. Her closest friend and her two sons were displaced by that fire. There was no thinking twice about stepping up and helping them. Isn't that what she had always been told she was best at? Making sure that everyone gets taken care of first? She had heard that most of her adult life. Take care of the important things first. The other stuff will have to wait. The only trouble was that other stuff was her long held hopes and dreams. Dreams that revolved around art; specifically art created with a crochet hook or knitting needles.
She never regretted going to college to pursue a business degree. She had always helped her mother run the inn and knowing how to run a business was going to be necessary when the inn finally would pass to her on her mother's retirement. That business degree was one of the things she was constantly teased about, and on more than one occasion, belittled for in school. Most of her friends were interested in the "Mrs." degree. A lot of her friends never finished their educations. She was one of the exceptions.
Despite managing the business for her mother, there was on dream that was always lingering on the fringes of her mind. She had wanted to have her own shop. Walls lined floor to ceiling with yarn and wools. Merino, alpaca, lamb, cotton and acrylics. You name it, and she could picture them in every color on the spectrum. But more that just have her own boutique, she wanted to teach what she knew. To show someone how to take a metal crochet hook and a ball of fiber and create a blanket, or toy, or sweater.
She was a wiz with a crochet hook. She had won a few prized in State Fair competitions. Those same friends who teased her about her college classes would sometimes call her "The Farmers Daughter". They could not understand her fascination with some of the farmers who raised sheep and goats and the wools they created. Those taunts never bothered her much. Being told she would never make anything of herself pursuing a career in the arts did. A lot. The prizes she won gave her enough faith in herself to want to put up her creations for sale. She would sell items to those who would commission something from her, but she still wanted more.
After their marriage, her husband Brandon took an interest in the family business. Lila, her mother, never offered to bring him on as a partner, much to his annoyance. She was not shy about letting everyone know that the business would be going to her daughter and not anyone else. That did not stop her from allowing Brandon to open a small souvenir shop in the gate house on the property. He was a history buff and wanted to cater to the visitors who came to tour the many historical sites in the surrounding areas. Lila agreed the idea made sense.
After seeing how the customers were more than willing to spend some money on the memorabilia, she decided she would start offering her handmade items in the shop too. Brandon immediately balked at the idea.
"Don't be ridiculous! No one is going to buy that stuff," he told her without giving her feelings an ounce of thought. "I will not allow it in my shop."
Cat was stung by his harsh tone and arrogant attitude. She didn't know how she mustered up the guts, but she pulled rank on him.
It was the first time she had ever done that. She was not Lila Harrison's daughter for nothing.
"This is my family's business and if I decide we are going to sell my items in this shop, that is what is going to happen. How dare you tell me what I can and cannot do in my own business!"
She had been absolutely livid! Brandon didn't take it too well, slamming the door on his way out. Her reaction scared her. She had not intended for an argument to take place. Fear and doubt started nagging at her. Maybe she should not have done that. She shouldn't have started torturing herself. After a bit of a dressing down from Lila, Brandon realized that maybe he overstepped his bounds.
Cat paused in her ruminations at that point to refill her glass. She had been so lost in thought that she didn't realize that she had finished the glass without really tasting the wine. She shook her head. What was wrong with her? Shifting her position on the chair, she settled back down to think.
The addition of the handmade items was met with some modest success. She made sure to feature from which farm the wool came for each piece. It was her first attempt at building a business relationship with the farmers. They were so pleased with the added attention from the tourists. That was the beginning of a system of support that all of the businesses in the area enjoyed. One of the added benefits was a steady supply of wool! Brandon eventually had to concede that he should not have been so dismissive of her ideas. He actually borrowed her method and began to develop a working relationship with other memorabilia outlets and most of the historic sites in the area.
Cat never got the chance to branch out and get a shop of her own. Emily and Kevin came on the scene. Full time motherhood and management of the inn too up all her time and attention. The kids were in grade school when she started to explore the boutique idea again.
It was then that the unthinkable happened. Brandon was hit by a drunk driver and succumbed to his injuries. She went overnight to widowhood, with two children to raise and a business to run. Everyone was depending on her. She couldn't let them down. Those old voices came back to haunt her.
"You have to help out! The other stuff is not important! The other stuff can wait!"
She threw herself into her family work and running the inn. It was easier for her to hide her grief and disappointment that way. It was then that Fear really took hold of her. She was scared she would let them down. She was scared that they would see that she had wants and needs that were not being addressed. She was afraid that if anyone knew these things, that they would find her wanting. She worked so hard to be some many things to so many people. Everyone but herself. Until now.
The opportunity presented itself again. Instead of her family resisting her plans, they were enthusiastically supporting them.
Kevin told her, "Mom, we are long past need someone to worry about us. We're adults for crying out loud!'
Her own mother said,"I have no idea why you are over-thinking this. Make a decision already! You will never know unless you try!
But win or lose, at least you will have done it on your own terms."
She drained her glass and put it on the small table on the left side of her chair. Standing up and stretching, she had to admit, her mother had a valid point. Time to stop beating herself up and just take the chance.
The on-shore breezes were strengthening and she was getting quite chilled. Cat gathered up the glass and the empty wine bottle and went into the house. Her mother had over-estimated how much wine she would need to get to a decision. That was not to say that she was not feeling a bit tipsy at the moment. She just have to deal with that hangover in the morning anyway. She put the second bottle in the refrigerator. They would open it tomorrow night when she let them in on her decision.
But right now she would need to get some details worked out for the party tomorrow for Kelly's sons. Looking out of the glass doors at the shipwreck resting quietly under the light of the full moon, she smiled again. This was going to be a party those kids would remember for a very long time.