Seems a selfish thought really. Can’t help but think of the kid in the sandbox clutching the plastic truck exclaiming “mine!” And we have all been that kid, lets admit it. In fact, that was my first thought when I met my husband 25 years ago. While marriage was the farthest thing from my mind at the time when I met Tom, a thought bubble floated above my head, “Mine. I want him to be mine”.
Lucky for me, he is mine. And through the years, what I had always thought of as being “mine” quickly became “ours”. My professional and personal goals are mine, but they are also ours.
In fact, both moments when we laid eyes on Maggie, and again on Nelli, my thought bubble was “be ours; this dog is our dog”. It was my insistance to adopt a dog in the first place, and Tom had not known what fulfillment he would experience when we first adopted Maggie, but it didn’t take long for him to realize the deeper bond Maggie forged between us. With Maggie added to our life, everything felt more like “ours”, and took on new meaning somehow. Sure, there were (and still are) moments of selfishness, but something about marriage, and adding a dog, changes your perspective.
Maybe its from being the second of two children; of being the only girl, and always having my own room, with my own “stuff” that I would think in terms of “mine”. While my parents insisted we share, my brother had little interest in a lot of my “stuff” or wanting to play house, school or sit in the backyard and make Babie furniture out of mud (not a long term solution for a Barbi couch, perhaps, but a forshadowing of creations to come).
So, when thinking of my life to come, my career in advertising was a dream I had for as long as I could recall. As a child of the ’70’s, I saw myself rising up in the ranks as another “Mary Tyler Moore” type career girl (little did I know I would actually come to live in Minneapolis). As the years went on, my dream career with the long hours and the extensive (and at times, exciting) travel, was no longer about me, and what I wanted. The fact that my suitcase found a permanant home on standby for that next business trip was not lost on Tom and Maggie. So when she sat inside my suitcase one night while I tried to pack, it was a definite sign that “my dream” was impeding “our dreams”.
This is not to say individual dreams are not important – they most definitely are. I had simply reached a point with mine in which I was no longer as fulfilled as I once was, and I was starting to feel something missing in my life – in our life.
As I have written about in previous posts, taking a step back from advertising/brand development was my choice. My choice supported by Tom. In fact, when I questioned what my next step should be, it was Tom who said, “you’ll figure it out; you’ll find what’s right for you, just give it time”.
And I did find what is right for me. Granted it was a bittersweet road to get here, but I found myself again in something I can call “mine”. I’ve always been an artist at heart and gained my greatest fulfillment from creating something with my hands. So, I enjoy that I have accomplished building this business out of the simple act of creating a candle to honor Maggie. I find fulfillment in the experience of watching my business grow with each order that goes onto the Fed Ex truck.
Tom will admit to moments of curious doubts while my stubborn nature pushed ahead to achieve a new personal goal. I made a lot of furniture out of mud with great determination to fully furnish Barbi’s house. So, I was determined to make this work, too. And I admit, the insistance that I pursue a “pet candle business” sounded ridiculous even to me, so I understood his skeptisim at first. So I’m lucky he hung in there with me providing unending support and encouragement as I headed into murky entrepreneurial waters with a business idea that seemed “unheard of”, or at least unproven at the time. I’m lucky that he loves me with such greatness to allow me to have “my business”. I’m lucky he allows me the room to grow as a person in whichever means is important to me. But honestly, I’m most lucky to have him as my true partner in it all.
Because what makes us great together is the shared desire all couples have: to call something “our own”. So, I am not ashamed to admit I am selfish. And to realize its not always a bad thing. A selfish need can actually lead to greater good; you find others with the same selfish needs, and together you can create something remarkable.
I’m glad I was selfish in wanting Tom – Maggie and Nelli – to be mine. Because I think together we have created something kind of remarkable.