And I’m not just talking about changin’ diapers, or the commercial about how a baby changes everything.

Which she certainly does!

But times are a changin’ for the Glacier County Honey Co., too.  Since Maggie Rose’s arrival, this blog has leaned more towards babies than beekeeping, and y’all have been very forgiving.  But I like to write about our other girls, The Bees, too — as fascinating as Maggie is, her impact as a pollinator on our food supply is not as significant as that of our other daughters — and I’ll be doing a lot more of that starting next month.

Before Honeydew and I were married, I practiced law in Missoula, Montana, with the most intelligent, ethical, and entertaining ladies a gal could ask for.  After I married Honeydew, I started my own firm in Cut Bank and for the last several years, I’ve been assisting with divorces, wills, and parenting plans for folks along the High Line.  The highs and lows of being a solo practitioner, and later, of being in a partnership with Brother Dear, are among the most extreme I have known, and those experiences molded me in ways — good and bad — that are hard to explain.  I can say that every bit of those years negotiating, advocating, and researching beautifully prepared me for a partnership in a fairly big Small Business with my husband.  Especially the negotiating!  Whew, Honeydew and I spend a lot of time together.

Between the growing Small Business – thanks to each of you who have supported us, you are making our dream come true – and the growing Baby, I’ve had to make a decision about whether or not to continue to wear the Lawyer hat.  To say that I’ve struggled with this decision is so vastly inadequate.

There is the Lawyer part of me that asks, “But won’t you be undermining all of those years you spent working your tail off for your law degree? Won’t you be undermining all the women who’ve come before you, and who will come after you, who think that you are part of the problem with women advancing in law?  Have a baby, quit lawyering – we’ve heard it all before.”   And while I believe those women are a little harsh – after all, excepting the actresses and actors who can afford a surrogate, the one thing we can’t outsource is the delivery of our own children – I still hear their voices.

And then there is Lawyer vanity, too, if I’m honest with myself.  Every now and again, I enjoy throwing on a pretty suit – ah, no having to match a top to pants! – and getting together with my colleagues to bend our brains in exploring a fine point of law, or politics, or literature.  Lawyers love to talk, and I am no exception.  Beekeepers love to talk too, but I am just an eager 1L in that field, armed with knowledge from books but lacking the confidence and expertise gained only from actual practice, and I am hesitant in my remarks.

And then there is the Small Business Owner part of me that questions, “Do you see the way this business is growing?  Do you realize that you were the one who started the retail end of the business, and that you can’t dump it on Honeydew just because you’ve gotten busy with a custody dispute?  Do you see that the harder you and Honeydew work, the bigger it gets?  Do you see that there is no one else to do this work, only the two of you?”

And then there is the Personal part of me that insists, “Do you see that you are spreading yourself too thin, that you can’t be a good Small Business Owner, and a good Lawyer, and a good Wife, and most importantly, a good Mom?  Moreover, do you really think if you make it to be 90, laying there on a bed you can hardly get out of, that you will wish you had spent more time driving to Cut Bank and appearing in courthouses from Choteau to Shelby, more time growing your own business and less time growing the business that you own with your husband?  Less time with Maggie Rose and Honeydew?”

In short, for much of 2011, I’ve had a lot of voices in my head.  I’ve listened, I’ve argued, I’ve cursed them for keeping me from sleep.  I have struggled to make the right decision.  And of course, when you are married and have children, you make decisions not only for yourself – and that is a concept, if I am again honest with myself, that I am still absorbing.  I was on my own for many years before I married Honeydew.  There are still moments in our marriage, in our business partnership, when I default to the decision making skill set of my 20s, the skill set that takes into consideration me, and only me.  I’ve realized that, and I’m working on it, and it’s part of why it took me so many months to decide about the Lawyering, and even more months to write about it.

So, I’ve decided that there will come a time — probably much sooner than I imagine — when Maggie Rose is older, and the Glacier County Honey Co. is more established, and neither of them will need me so much.  And I may re-evaluate the voices, this decision, at that time.

But for now, I’ve decided to put the Lawyering hat on the shelf, and to accompany Honeydew to California to check on the bees and learn a little bit more about almond pollination, splitting, shaking, and queen grafting.  Perhaps, while I am there, I will watch Maggie take her first steps in an olive grove.  Certainly I will be present in my marriage mentally and physically, and I will embrace the decision I made and not look back.

And that is my Christmas gift to myself.

Six-and-a-half-months going on Sixteen.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.