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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

summer job and the decrease in my wallet contents

For whatever reason, this has been the summer of enterprise.
It began in the late spring when our early beach outings with Emilie, Ange and all the kids consisted of the kids collecting cool natural items and creating a store in which to sell them.  Using an old log as a display counter, pine cones for currency and pieces of bark for credit cards, the moms were expected to shop heartily, sometimes even collecting 80 mini pine cones to pay for an especially cool sea shell.
This entrepreneurial spirit soon showed up at home. 
Ella spent a morning of intensive craft-making in the living room when suddenly she decided I have  lot of inventory...perhaps it's time to consider expansion.  Soon she had reconfigured the coffee table and a corner into a store.  Items were anywhere from $.25 to $1.00.  We shopped generously.  But it was Maya, with a pocket full of quarters, who really cleaned house.  And as Ella sat behind her store counter quickly manufacturing new products, Maya would peer over and say, "What is that Ella?" and, regardless of Ella's answer, "I want to buy it."
Soon Maya had her own store nearby. She was smart enough to not resell Ella's wares, but she had her own: cups full of collected leaves, picture books, pieces of gum, crayons, and any other random things she could find in the house. 
Ella hasn't quite learned the art of accepting imitation as flattery. She was irritated by Maya copying her and even more so about the fact that Maya wanted to buy each thing she made, even if Maya was a cash paying customer.
The stores were set up in the living room for as long as I could take it before I wanted to pull my hair out when my favorite mixing spoon had gone missing and no one could sit on the couch anymore.  After weeks of this, with lighter wallets and a stack of handmade bendaroo flowers, fans and braids, we finally had to restore the living room and decrease the daily arguments over store politics with the girls.    
But that didn't stop them.  Oh no.
Every time we went to Schoodic this summer they set up store with Brevan and Makenna.  They sold snails, cups of blueberries they harvested themselves, pretty leaves and twigs.  As expected, it became the little kids versus the the divisive line of age became fraught with conflict.  The big kids didn't want the little ones to mess up their stuff.
But the little kids were not to be outdone by the big kids.  They filled up this bucket with the drop down spout and began to charge a quarter for hand and feet cleaning.  Who can say no to these two?
Near the end of summer, Brevan and Makenna came to spend the night at our house to do some school shopping.  While Makenna and Kristi slept, these three got it into their heads that they were going to sell bouquets.  So they quickly fashioned a few clusters of my garden flowers, tied them with duck tape and set up shop.  All by 7:30 in the morning.

I love these kids and I love that they want to do this.  And I have paid a lot of random money this summer for things my catch-all kitchen counter groaned to see me coming with.  Our neighbor Judy was the only other "real" customer they had and I think she paid them like $3.00 for a bouquet so they made out just fine considering they hadn't even had breakfast yet.

Maya was not ready to give up the store as summer wrapped up.  She made yet another store on the edge of the kitchen that seemed to grow in diameter every day.  She was mostly running a jewelry cleaning operation wherein she would take a plastic bowl, fill it with water, hand soap and hand sanitizer and soak your jewelry from 1-5 days. 

 Initially when she set up this store she said: "Come shop at my store. Everything is $5.00."

I replied, "I'm all done spending money at stores for now, Honey." (Because the other thing I didn't mention is that as soon as you shop, you are called back to do so again about 5 minutes later.)

She said, "Then everything is only $1.00!"

When I didn't reply, she said, "Actually you are my helper and for you everything is free!"

And so I added flea-market vendor to the long list of potential future jobs for Maya. (It joined the list on the bottom after clown, cartoon-voice actor and U.N. negotiator.)

I managed to leave the store intact (IN MY KITCHEN) for nearly 10 days and then one day I just cleaned it up. 

Then this appeared when Sandi was alone with the girls this weekend.

 She even made them a fancy sign.
 These are Ella's doing.  Maya added the stickers from her new leggings from Target to the wall. I overheard her saying, "Since this isn't in the kitchen it can stay here forever!"

"Chutes and Ladders- A store with all holmade stuff and lot's of creativity"
 I'm posting this as I sit in the quiet of the house before the girls wake up for their first day of school.  It is always so sad to me when summer ends, although I have to admit I am fully exhausted by the intensity of it. The girls and I have been together essentially non-stop except when I've been at work.  We have played and played and played some more.   I have done more sibling refereeing than I ever want to.  I am infinitely grateful for the summers I get to spend with them and deeply in need of some solitude and time to work on all the undone things around the house.

They go back to school today.  Maya starts kindergarten today.  No more trips to camp, no more swimming on hot days, no more stores (one can hope), no more walking outside as soon as you get up to watch the sun and collect tomatoes. 

It is so hard for me to say goodbye to summer.  It is hard for me to say goodbye in general.  But every ending is indeed a new beginning and this fall means time for me to finally get to yoga class regularly and to have a real, daily writing schedule.  It means I can paint the playset, clean all the closets, the basement and the eves.

It also means our girls are a whole year older (their birthdays are just around the corner) and they are once again going out into the world without us.  My heart goes out to the moms I know who are sending their kids to college. (Hug to Kim.)

I'm pretty sure no one promised me that motherhood wouldn't break my heart.

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