“Want to see some photos of my kids?” the bartender, Felix asked as he pulled out his cell phone.
He set his phone on the bar and scrolled through his Instagram feed. Lindsey (one of our managers), my dad and I huddled together to see snapshots of his family: his wife and five kids. yes, five kids. I’m always amazed and inspired when people my age have more than one or two kids since most of my friends are creatives who focused on their careers first and building a family second. Every photo on Felix’s feed was of his family. We loved listening to him narrate the stories behind every photo… This was the time we went to the beach… This one is my daughter Clementine making a funny face, etc…
Felix is the bartender at Lungomare, the bar/restaurant at the Waterfront hotel at Jack London Square. Twice a year, I travel to Oakland and stay at the Waterfront hotel the night before our Patchwork Oakland show. The last two times, Felix has been behind the bar pouring some of the best craft cocktails I’ve ever had. Felix isn’t just an award winning bartender but a genuine conversationalist. The four of us (Felix, Lindsey, my dad and I) spent the evening talking about the importance of family, whether it’s biological or the family you create with your friends and the people who become your family by marriage.
When I look back, the moments I wish I could relive if I had a time machine, are the ones spent with the people I love. My career is also super important to me and in some ways the people I’ve met through Craftcation and Patchwork have become a second family. Some of our Patchwork vendors have been selling at our shows since we started seven years ago! I’m grateful to play a tiny part in many of their journeys as they’ve grown from having their creative business be a part-time gig while they worked a day job into a full-time successful business. Delilah and I have also watched our Craftcation attendees and presenters grow their businesses as well as their families. Our staff and sponsors have also become part of this second family.
I’m so lucky that I get to work with my family too. My business partner (the other half of Patchwork and Craftcation) is my aunt Delilah. My husband and cousin are the chefs at Craftcation. My aunt and mom help out at Craftcation every year. My close friends, who I consider family, and other family members have volunteered at our events, assisted with the jury process for Patchwork and are always there when Delilah and I are in a pinch and need a little help. The whole reason that my dad was sitting in Oakland at Lungomare with me is because he and my mom drove from Southern California to the Bay Area to help out with our Oakland Patchwork show.
Not only did My parents drive over 300 miles, work three long days during which neither of them complained about not having a chance to eat lunch, but they also called me on their car ride home to tell me that they wanted to help more and gave suggestions on how to make things run more smoothly. During the show, I apologized to my mom for having to spend her mother’s day working at Patchwork.
“Are you kidding?” she said. “This is the best mother’s day ever. I get to spend it with you and see the fruition of all your and Delilah’s hard work.”
When Delilah and I first thought about scheduling the Patchwork Oakland show on Mother’s Day, we were uncertain if it was a good decision. Now, with our second Patchwork Oakland Mother’s Day show under our belt, I feel it was a good choice. One of the things I love about our shows is that they’re free. I’m so happy to give people a place to go with their family (especially on a day like Mother’s Day that’s all about family) where they can wander the venue checking out local makers, sample Joia soda and creations from artisan food crafters, learn a new skill at our Arch and Handcraft Studio School DIY workshop booths and listen to music, and it’s all free. It was so awesome to see families walking around the event after going to the farmer’s market or having brunch. It wasn’t only ‘take your mom to work to work day’ for me, several vendors as well as sponsors brought their moms and children along to help out. All of these family members, like mine, seemed happy to spend the day with their kids and parents even if they became impromptu assistants for the day.
After the show, when our cars were loaded up with all the supplies and equipment that make Patchwork possible, I had to say goodbye to my parents. Even though I’ll see them in a few weeks when I travel south for Patchwork Long Beach, it was still hard to say goodbye.
“Words can’t express my thanks,” I said as I hugged my parents. Then I got weepy. Then my mom and dad got weepy. Then Lindsey got weepy.
Lindsey ended up working with us via being the cousin of a long time friend of mine. She’s one of the most hard-working authentic people I know. She’d only met my parents a few days before. Then we all spent three days straight together in a high stress situation, prepping for and running Patchwork Oakland. Lindsey and my mom got to know each other during the frustrating task of measuring and marking out vendor spaces. Then they had heartfelt talks about the women in their lives that they’d lost to breast cancer. Lindsey, my dad and I had those chats with Felix at the bar about how meaningful tight family relationships are. We also had long talks about taking risks and following your dreams. I’d already grown close to Lindsey in the year she’s been working with us but in those three days she formed a close bond with my parents too.
When we were sitting at Lungomare the night before, we told Felix about Patchwork. “My wife loves this stuff. perfect for Mother’s Day. We’ll for sure stop by,” he said.
I didn’t see Felix and his family at Patchwork Oakland but that doesn’t mean they didn’t come. The show was pretty crowded plus I was running around the whole time and I could have easily missed them. I hope they did stop by to see all the talented makers and feel the overwhelming sense of community and family that I felt on Mother’s Day. Big hugs and heartfelt thanks to all the vendors, volunteers, sponsors, staff and of course families that made the show awesome.