I haven’t been writing much this week, except inside my head.
I’m sewing again, trying to breathe a little air into my old business, Moss Feet Shoes. I had made four pairs of shoes for Clara, and made the difficult decision to try and sell them for some extra income. Three of the four sold immediately. A wonderful friend bought one pair, but insisted that I keep them with Clara’s things, which is pretty much the most understanding and generous thing anyone could have done.
The reactions I got from friends and family and old customers were so great that I decided to see how it would feel to sit down and sew up some shoes to sell.
And you know, I cried a fountain when I first sat down at the sewing machine.
There are so many emotions tied to my old business… to those little shoes that I toiled over daily for years. I designed Moss Feet Shoes for Addah and Lakin, tiptoed into a market that was bereft of handmade soft soled shoes, exploded from a hobby into a huge and thriving business alongside some of the greatest ladies and business owners I’ve ever known… and I grew that business with my ex-husband.
I loved it. I loved every minute of cutting out pieces of leather and felted wool, loved every color change on the embroidery machine, loved hand stitching elastic, and especially that triumphant moment when I’d flip a shoe right side out and admire it. I admired every single shoe that I ever made… thousands of shoes over the course of four years in business.
I cried over the loss of that wonderful business, that marriage, that girl I used to be. I cried, remembering the horrible crash and burn that happened when I told my ex to leave after eight years together and closed my beloved business. I cried for the depression and the sadness and the black hole of alcohol and self-harm and drugs that I fell into, that I never would have escaped, but for my children.
I cried because I would have never cut out another shoe, ever. I made those four pairs of shoes this past spring, on a whim, because I wanted our new baby girl to wear a pair of her mama’s handmade shoes. I picked out the perfect colors to match the baby clothes we had already washed and folded, in preparation of her coming arrival. I sewed them with so much love and tenderness, and when I flipped them right side out, I felt that same pride and happiness that I always used to feel.
And when I was done crying, I decided that maybe I’m supposed to be a shoe maker. I love it now as much as I ever did, and I am grateful to Clara that she unknowingly gave me the opportunity to figure that out.
I started this business for my two older girls… and now, ten years after I designed my first pair of shoes, six years since I closed the business, I will do my best to rebuild this business, for all three of my daughters.