My mom Liz came down to the shop today with a childhood friend who now resides in Manhattan, and mom's unbridled enthusiasm for Makaboo and its goodies made me realize I've never blogged about her remarkable transformation from wary parent to CMO (Chief Mothering Officer).
My parents started out dubious (to put it politely) of the entire notion of Makaboo. I'm their youngest child, and I'd just moved back to St. Louis from San Francisco to marry my hometown sweetheart. All I needed to do to fulfill my role as perfect adult child was pop out a couple of attractive, well-behaved grandchildren. And instead what do I do? Risk my entire nest egg on an online venture. At 31. With no partner. And no experience running a business.
I should preface this by saying that my parents are conservative by nature. They are products of the Depression and the War, and their (perhaps their generation's) MO seems to be that anything out of the ordinary is inherently risky. My father worked at a law firm named after *his* father for 45 years. My mother uses phrases like "pray tell" and "SHE is the cat" (i.e. a woman in one's presence should be referred to by name, not by pronoun).
But I seemed to pop out of the womb anything but ordinary. At three, when my father yelled at me for running out into traffic, I turned on my heel, put both hands on my hips and yelled "Don't you talk to me like that!" I decided to go to boarding school at 14. I decided to move to Miami for a fisherman. I decided to move to San Francisco for a company with the word "fish" in its name (no relation to the fisherman). And yes, at 31, I decided to start a company instead of starting a family (not counting my amazing husband Bill and my very special cat Me).
All of these decisions were labeled - with love and concern - "risky" by my parents, or, if not risky, "irresponsible" or, my all-time favorite for its distance from the truth, "impetuous". I am the biggest overthinker/overanalyst on the planet - I can't make an "impetuous" decision at the grocery store, let alone in life!
So, to see my mother go from skeptical about Makaboo's fate to certain of its success is pretty cool. And I have to say, it started when she started *seeing* what we were doing - the products, the embroidery, and of course the site.
She's never said that she's proud of me, but the fact that she now carries her CMO business cards with her wherever she goes (and that she even asked for them!), makes me feel pretty good. She's given them out to all of her friends, to passengers next to her on flights, to pregnant strangers at the mall.
I hope she, like me, thinks the risks have been worth it.