I haven’t found my way back here in quite awhile, and for that I apologize, both to you and myself. This haze of new mumhood has been dizzying. I picture these first months as Kai’s mum as an open landscape of beautiful grass and flowers and heavy wise aged trees, and I’m plunked right in the middle of it, beneath a warm, cozy blanket. With each day, someone fluffs the blanket high, and I catch a glimpse of the sights and sounds of the world painted outside. Then the blanket settles and I return to the comfort and dark and focus. Now, six-point-three months later, the blanket lifted and I rolled out from beneath and was greeted with a new life.
I’m a mother. Even as I type (with one hand because my other arm is occupied by a nursing Kai), I do not understand the ever-changing definition of this new title. My most important title yet. I exist in a state of awe most of the time. I feel fortunate to witness his developing self. Each day really does unveil a new feature or personality trait or voice. He’s no longer a passive newborn with blurry sight and an insatiable hunger.
His eyes follow/notice/question/study everything from my morning yawn to the lighted toys he pulls and squeezes to the leaves we both caress on a tree passed by. His raspy voice sails throughout the quiet of our home; sometimes low, sometimes a scream, always delightful and amusing. When he caresses my face and talks to me with his new sounds and eyes of intent, I want nothing more in life than to know what he’s saying.
While Kai grows, a new business venture is also getting its legs. Nils and our dear friend, PerryA, have taken on a beast. Although it boasts a brief moniker, The Inn, don’t allow it to fool you. The Inn serves as a restaurant, tavern, function room, and inn. When we made the decision to “go for it,” we did so with the understanding that having a new baby at the same time may prove a challenge. Of course, you never know what attention a new venture needs until you’re in the thick of the weeds, but we had to try it on. I have tried my hand at the components I know how to tackle — wine list, marketing, Web, menu design, etc. I would like to be involved more, but I still maintain my job, although remotely, and of course, care for our lil man.
During a long commute home from the office yesterday (I venture to the city a few times a month), I drafted this post in mind. Long drives on bare roads seldom leave my mind vacant. To the soothing sounds of a shuffled play list, I told you all about the struggles of the past few months. I told you to grab a favorite beverage and sit awhile with me, because I really need a friend to chat with.
As often happens, most of the prompts I attempted to store in memory in order to scribe that perfectly tailored post, have escaped. The overall notion I now share is that starting a restaurant is difficult, even for a seasoned fellow like Nils. You can boast all of the necessary knowledge, determination, moxie, and still, the business will whirl you around all of your best expectations.
The Inn has been around for many years. Owners have changed hands. The signage has swung different identities in the winds off the nearby sea. When it comes down to it though, the building, the tavern and restaurant, the location — everything that defines this establishment — is engrained in this community; especially the village in which it resides.
From go!, we learned that there are those who will reach out with helping hands and words of encouragement as well as others who for some reason or another want to resist or block a new endeavor. The awful stories Nils arrives home with render me dumfounded. He and PerryA want to provide a meeting place for the community. Somewhere to have a quiet meal on the breezy porch or enjoy a local band or celebrate a milestone with family and friends. Yet, even with the best of intentions, there are folks who feel compelled to share only bad mojo. We’re slowly learning not to take it to heart, but when you’re all in, that’s not so easy.
Whenever I hear someone nonchalantly share a daydream of opening a bar or restaurant, I cringe. Not only must the owner(s) be at the business every day, they are also away from their families. This distance shared between Nils and I and now Kai is almost tangible for me. This drawback is what I pondered most on my road trip yesterday. I knew he’d have to be there a lot. He had to be so with The Bitter End when that opened. I did not — could not — fathom how much time he really would need to be there. Every. Moment.
We are willing to make the sacrifice of our time together for the idea of this business growing enough so that in the future we can be together more. Even still, I despise the notion that he’s missing so much of Kai’s first year. It’s also difficult for me to take on the overwhelming (non-stop, all-day, all-night) responsibility of our lil man, oftentimes, alone.
This time too, we will make it through — this I know. Even so, it’s difficult being separated from the one I love/adore/admire/the papa of our boy for many days and nights in row. Although he’s only a few miles away and I visit often, the business is his mistress and occupies all attentions for now.
This is where I’m at right now. Smack dab in the middle of Kai’s first year. A new mum to a delightful boy. A supportive partner for an entrepreneur.