This morning I asked Charles whether our time here has felt longer or shorter than four years. He said shorter without hesitating. I guess that’s good in a lot of ways. Our lives are busy, there’s still excitement in this venture of ours and sometimes not a little drama. But it also made me think back, as anniversaries often do, on our time here in Appomattox and at the Babcock House. And, of course, I started getting a little sentimental. Indulge me, if you will, on a little walk backwards down the journey our life has taken these last four years.
We dove right into a functioning business with rooms booked the night of our arrival and catering events quickly approaching. We moved in on a Friday and re-opened the restaurant Sunday, November 1, 2015 for our first brunch service! Actually, it was the Babcock House’s first brunch service too, since the previous owners had offered their regular lunch menu on Sundays. It seemed like something Appomattox had been missing, though, because we quickly gained the attention of our favorite state tourism board, ranking as a top brunch spot in Virginia!
We spent our first year open every day except Christmas, trying to learn the flow of busy and slow times. We worked with family, establishing ourselves in the community and getting to know our local clientele. Remy had just turned two before we moved, so he was often tight on my heels when I was checking in guests or hosting the restaurant…if Didi or Granper wasn’t here to keep an eye on him. It’s hard to believe this little guy is six now, helping me watch the baby and doing almost his whole school lesson on his own!
Our second year, I decided to jump into everything I could to partner with tourism peers. I was named president of the Appomattox Tourism Committee, after being one of thirteen starting it from scratch. And I joined our state innkeeping association and the local theater‘s boards. I learned a lot and made some great friends, but I seemed to be getting pulled in many directions. It was also a year of heavy loss…uncle, grandmother, brother. But it started and ended with family: times shared and new life begun.
Euan was born at home just before the new year, ten days early of his estimated due date, but perfectly on time as far as I was concerned. He arrived the exact day I was hoping for since both sets of grandparents were in town visiting and able to meet him right away. I couldn’t have hoped for more.
I often joke that that was the last time he cooperated as he has been extremely athletic and adventurous ever since, requiring the constant removal of “dangerous” furniture and the constructing of more gates to keep things off limits that he seems intent on destroying. I guess our third year was the baby year…I was so heavily occupied with caring for him and myself that our early guests may have only gotten to meet Charles! Of course, that progressed and changed depending on nap and feeding times and eventually I got back in the semi-regular swing of things.
This past year has been a year of drive, I guess you would say. After a few things got neglected during “baby year”, we were determined to dig back in(literally, in the garden), embrace our business and each other and really reach for something great. After a few staffing hiccups at the beginning of the year, I am proud to say we’ve been supporting our largest and most consistent staff ever.
One of the most challenging parts of owning a small business, employing people and knowing you are part of providing for their families, is a huge blessing and responsibility. After all, spending five days a week with the same people in our home, around our kids, they become a second family. Everyone has to rely on each other in a small business, in different ways sometimes.
Well, I wasn’t really sure where this free flow reflection would take us. I never really thought of our time here as having such separate annual themes, but here we are. It feels like the next logical step would be to assign one to our fifth year…and make that our goal. Sounds like a good conversation for next time. Thank you for hanging in there with me. Happy Anniversary to us!