I’m back from Long Beach and I was very lucky to get home before the big snowstorm. I fear many of my friends who were also at the show were stranded in airports throughout the country. I had a wonderful time seeing old friends and meeting some new ones. I had a very successful booksigning at the Unicorn Booth. It’s been about 8 years since I have attended one of these winter shows. I was amazed to observe that so many of the retailers’ faces are new. Most of the shopowners I met weren’t in business 8 years ago. I’m sure there are many longtime shops still going – it’s just that I didn’t meet them this trip.
It was a spring show so most of the yarns shown were cottons, linens and blends. I don’t enjoy knitting with cotton nearly as much as I do wool so the yarns didn’t really interest me. What I did have fun with was meeting some authors I had never met including Susan B. Anderson of “Itty Bitty” fame and Melissa Morgan-Oakes who has a new book out called Two at a Time Socks. I got to re-connect with my old friends at Vogue Knitting, Interweave, and Knitters Magazines. I think I picked up some upcoming projects for which I am thankful and excited about.
The trip was fast and furious – 2 days on planes and 2 days at the show with 3 dinners. It seems that I went out there to eat and meet and greet book distributors. Amy Greeman and Kim Corey at Storey did a great organizational job and it all was totally painless and a bit of fun.
Getting back to my real life always has a bit of de-combustion involved. My family survived but both The Farmer and Julia are really happy I am back. I must say, even the cats are happy I am back. Lambing season isn’t exactly the best time for me to leave this place. Lambing is more than a full-time job and as good of a dad as Mark is, he found it extraordinarily hard to do a good job at both sheep farming and child-rearing. Homework didn't get done (don't ask me why?)! Driving a tractor with a little kid on your lap proved so difficult that he broke a board on the feeding rack and all the sheep escaped. Mass hysteria ensued but luckily his brother and his daughter stopped by unexpectedly and helped round the sheep back up into the pen and fix the fence. Julia spent a little more time at the barn than she really cared to and The Farmer found out just how much energy and time it takes to care for a child all day and night long.
I went to college in the late 70’s during the height of the women’s movement. I always have considered myself a feminist at heart. Luckily, I found a partner who had grown up in a family of boys being raised by a widowed woman. Betty made an example to her boys that there really wasn’t anything a woman couldn’t do. The Farmer has never had any expectations of gender roles in our marriage and for that I am thankful.
But when Julia was born and had her various health issues, surgeries, etc. I was the one who stayed home from work and took over the primary childcare. I wanted to and needed to. I often questioned my choice and asked myself why I was doing it. The choice was financial as well as logistical. I chose to leave a good job and career to take care of Julia. As life bobbled along, I didn’t have much time to become philosophical about the decision nor the need to do it.
Since we moved here to the farm and I began working free-lance, we have somehow fallen into the normal stereotypical male and female roles. I take care of the house, the meals, the gardens and the child. He (The Farmer) takes care of the farm and his business. For now it is working. But I want to be an good example to my daughter. I want her to know that yes, women do work – both inside and outside the home. Women’s work, no matter what it is, is and should be valued. I want her to know that when she grows up and moves out on her own, she can be responsible for herself – both emotionally and financially. I may be worrying about all this before I should (Julia is 9) but after this weekend away, I can’t help but think about it. I’m hoping by going away a few more times this spring for business purposes, it will help her see that yes, I really do work and generate some income that helps to run this here farm.
With two parents who work for themselves, we are an odd example for a child. We feel fortunate that right now, neither of us goes to a typical office and has co-workers. We fit in working around our lives and somehow we are surviving.