On a rainy April day, the talented Jenna–Business & Public Relations Manager at Eric and Christopher–gathered all of the moms and their children who bring Lingo homewares to life. The invitation made me simultaneously smile and cringe: moms and children, holding Lingo products, together for a Mothers Day photo shoot. What a beautiful way to celebrate the many hands that make it all work, and what a wonderful opportunity for my four real life products–ages two to eight–to demonstrate all of the things they can do with a clean pillow.
Walking into the warehouse as we passed open drums of screening ink, I breathlessly advised: “Do not touch ANYTHING. Do not run. Do not put your arms out, just walk nicely and be kind when we meet the other families." As we rounded the corner, I looked at this fantastic collection of women, their personalities and talents – seamstresses and artists all holding little pieces of Lingo. The concepts we had imagined, they had crafted with their hands.
In my former professional life, with none or half as many kids as we have now, I was Jenna - standing with the Man, behind the camera, instructing groups of people. I would do the strategizing: “We’ll use this photo for social media, that one for the political blog, maybe a different one for the photo release.” But there I was in front of the camera, shooting kind and loving daggers out of my eyes at my four children, who were using handcrafted pillows to reenact the “Philly Special” from Super Bowl LII.
Whose idea was it to include children in this photo shoot?!
I mean, I am the one with a lifestyle brand rooted in empathy and mindfulness–at a photo shoot for Mother’s Day. And I was trying to tactfully impact the decision-making of my four young ones–to no avail–by shooting kind and loving daggers from my eyes. Not mean daggers, just kind and loving ones.
About halfway through the afternoon, I realized that the shrills and giggles of my children were accompanied by the laughter and enthusiasm of everyone else in the room. I wasn’t hearing 4 little voices–I was hearing a chorus of 24 voices. In that moment, we were a tribe of designers, and artists and craftsmen and moms and energetic, inquisitive children. These women had seen it all before many times over. And it was clear that no matter where our lives have been and where our talents lay there is more that makes us similar than different.
We were all sharing with our children some things that we had created. There we stood. 25 people strong. Women and children–ages 2 to 75–holding exquisitely crafted pieces that embodied patience and strength. And I looked at my kids, as they held their pillows, and they were proud, and so was I.
And suddenly my concern about my spirited four disappeared, and amidst a few dirty pillows…the only remaining thing was gratitude.