We build businesses. Even little ones.

We build businesses.
Even little ones.

For Ginny and Her Mother

This one’s by request.

I got an email on Friday from a regular customer of ours.

She was responding to my email about the duck post-its.

She was writing to let us know that her mother had just passed away.

A few weeks ago, they’d been able to spend some quiet time together, and she wanted me to know something her mother had said.

“It’s time to have some fun now, Ginny. Do what YOU want. You’re dead for a long time.”

Her mother was embarrassed.

She felt like she was getting soppy, talking about “doing what matters” at a time like that.

She felt like a cliché.

(Ginny rightly told her that this was probably the best time to be talking about what matters, and that she should stop beating herself up immediately. This is one of the many reasons we like Ginny so much.)

Ginny has been skirting around building her ittybiz for several years. She’s been in the getting-her-feet-wet stage for a while, which is common.

We emailed back and forth a few times, and she asked if I could write about this and include her letter, so I am.

“I could never really commit, you know? I could never invest in it properly. I could never GET invested in it properly. I said it mattered and then I’d go shopping or drink too much wine and chat on Facebook all night.

But I think of all of the things Mom never did and I can’t forgive it in myself anymore. It’s not like big things or anything. She wasn’t trying to cure cancer, as you sometimes put it – ironic, now that it comes to that. She used to regret that she never took us on holidays when we were kids. She used to talk about the things she wanted to do with the garden.

She always wanted to bake cakes. Not a proper company or anything, but a real little ittybiz, a hundred dollars for a cake a few times a year. She wanted some creative space and some money, some entertainment and she never did it.

I’m not saying she died full of regret. I really don’t think she did. I don’t mean to make it a big dramatic thing. Yet, it feels like I’m dishonoring her if I don’t take this seriously now. It feels like I’m dishonoring myself. It feels like I’m dishonoring my own daughter. What am I going to say to her when it’s my turn?

It feels wasteful. You know? It feels wasteful to always say I don’t have the time when that’s just an excuse. It feels wasteful to say I don’t have the money when I clearly do. I say I don’t have the time or the money because I don’t want to step out of my comfort zone.

Isn’t it funny how much the world has changed and how little it has changed at the same time. Remember “nobody says they wish they’d spent more time at the office?” I don’t think I’m going to be saying “I wish I’d spent a little more time reading business blogs on my commute” or “I wish I’d bought a few more pairs of shoes”.

But you know what I do wish? I wish we spent less time getting damp-eyed reading some sob story about a stranger on the web and swearing “This time it will be different. This time I’ll take it seriously.” We all read them and we cry and we share them on Facebook and we think, wow, that’ll make me take it seriously.

I wish we just DID take it seriously.

I wish somebody didn’t have to die before we had these conversations.

I wish my mother didn’t die before I made something of my life.”

Thank you, Ginny, for sharing this. May your mother rest in peace.