I choose my family.
I've had an alterations business for 8 1/2 years. My kids know nothing other than that Mommy is always buried in wedding dresses to sew.
This all started as a way to earn some fun money and quickly became more than fun money. I've been running beyond capacity for years, always sleep-deprived and marking time by Saturdays, the popular wedding day of the week.
Who is getting married this week? Peru prom this week; Maconaquah prom next week. This dress can wait for a day or two because this other bride is getting married the week before, and we still have lots of wands to wave over her dress. Don't forget to order the dress bags. 5, 12, 19, 26. The Saturdays in September this year. Oh, yes, we need buttons and hangers, too. Did I get all the lace tacked back down on that dress?
Through the years, I've learned wedding dresses inside and out. I've learned how to fit a dress perfectly, and how to alter it in such a way that nobody can tell it's been altered.
I've seen time and again the delighted look on a bride's face when her dress fits just as it should, and she looks marvelous in it.
I've seen tears from brides when they first bring a dress to me thinking it's impossible to fix: tears of despair turn to tears of joy when it all works out.
Monetary benefits aside, the satisfaction of being part of making a bride's day just right is a sweet joy.
So why am I quitting?
My family and I are paying too high a price. I scramble constantly to keep up with the workload. Now I have helpers also scrambling alongside me.
I'm not available for my family when I am home. I always have to bring home work, and the late nights, and frequent overnights, are pushing me to an edge I'm afraid to meet.
Too often, I've missed sports games and family time because of my business.
I thought little kids needed their mommies; big kids need them just as much, or even more. They need me to be present to help them navigate the complex issues that come up at school or with friends. They need me to be awake enough to talk with them when they need a listening ear. They need me to help them become responsible adults.
Of course, Kris can do all this, too, and he does, but an available and present mother is irreplaceable in family life. She's an anchor for the family.
What good is it to gain the world and lose my family? Those wedding dresses won't be standing at my bedside when I die.
I see the fleeting years of child-rearing flying away, and I refuse to lose anymore time with my husband and children taking a back seat to satin and lace.
I really don't know what the future holds. Who can? I do know this is the right choice for our family right now. I will never regret making them a priority for real instead of just in theory.
I choose my family.