It is the beginning of November 2010 and I am summoned to Florida. My dad who has been battling cancer informs me we are celebrating Thanksgiving early because he doesn’t think he will make it till then. He was always very practical that way, a Capricorn through and through. Realistic, practical, responsible, reliable. Although often stoic in his ways, when he called for me, I went because he rarely asked anything of me. This is the Thanksgiving he wanted, and I am not about to deny him that, regardless of the turmoil in my life at the moment. He is ready to say his goodbyes.
I live in Manhattan with my 3 kids Benjamin 12, Matthew 10, and Lauren 7. It’s been a rough few year, but the last 6 months in particular have been life changing. Lauren just had brain surgery in July and my ex-husband is sucking the life out of me. I am feeling desperate and lacking in hope of any kind. Money is tight from lack of child support so now in addition to medical bills I need to purchase 4 tickets to Florida. The pile of fears are presenting themselves in the form of panic attacks daily. One foot in front of another, I tell myself, one foot in front of another. One of the things I mostly don’t want to talk about to my kids is money. The divorce changed our lives from very comfortable to bordering on poverty. I try to protect them from this kind of toxic anxiety as much as possible, but honestly, I don’t know where our next dollar is coming from.
These were my thoughts a mere 4 months earlier while I was in the hospital in recovery with Lauren. Realizing this, I am faced with the big question. What am I going to do for money? This was when I resurrected an old idea I had for an invention.  With my dad dying and my ex-husband refusing to pay child support,
I am desperate to find a way to provide for me and my kids. I knew that Dad’s cancer was quickly spreading all over his body since he refused treatments. Treatment and people doting on him was simply not his style. Still, I was hoping I would have more time than I did to perfect my idea before he passed away.
Although I had this idea many years ago, it wasn’t until I was forced BY necessity that made me pull all my thoughts together. Before I get on that plane with the kids, I manage to put the finishing touches on my business plan for EZpaint, my dream art product for kids ages 3 TO 103. I can’t wait to show him. Having been blessed with watching him run a factory and mass producing inventions and products himself; I so much want him to know that I have been watching and listening all these years and I am ready to be proactive and take the entrepreneurial risks that he has be preparing me for since childhood.

He was a tough critic, I knew if I could get his blessing, I could make my idea work and I new I was running out of time. And so, the day finally comes and the four of us get on the plane to visit my dad whom we lovingly call “Pipa”. My sister lives in Florida so she will meet us at his apartment with her three kids. “Family first “is something he preached our entire lives and this time will be no different. We spend our first day with him just hanging out at his apartment. All 9 of us crammed into his den/convertible bedroom. He is thin and spends his days in front of the tv watching the news. Obama is running for President. His morphine drip hangs on a pole next to him at all times. For comic relief, we decide to do a round robin of “Yo Momma jokes” You know the ones…” Yo Momma is so Stupid” How stupid is she? “Yo momma is so stupid she stayed up all night studying for a blood test. “ Yo Momma is so stupid, when I said “Drinks are on the house,” she got a ladder. We were all laughing and this went on for a few minutes until Pipa who is also hard of hearing said “ THERE IS NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT OBAMA” Needless to say, he missed all the jokes but we now have a very funny memory that will all share. “There is nothing funny about Obama” is a classic stress reliever in our house now because it instantaneously reminds us of that day when nothing else mattered but being together.

FINALLY, I DECIDE THAT THE TIME IS RIGHT. I whip out my prototype package of EZpaint. It is raw and unfinished but it gets the idea across. I take the 5 bottles of paint, that look like nail polish, out of my bag. Then I take the painting “EZcards” out, with my favorites designs the cupcake, the whale and the gumball machine, and I spread them on the table. I explain the very simple concept to him and say, “Dad we’re gonna go now and let you rest”. “I’ll leave this here with you to think about, see you tomorrow."

The next day we go back to his apartment and find him in the same position on the couch as the day before. Only this time, WHEN I walk in he says “Beth! I am SO mad at you.” I can tell by his tone of voice that he is kidding but I’m not really sure what he means. He says” I have been up all-night thinking about this idea of yours. “. He pummels me with all sorts of very reasonable business questions which I am proud to be able to answer satisfactorily. When he gets to my market research, he decides that he wants to see for himself. “Take me to Walmart !!“ he says. “They have a craft section. I want to check out the competition for myself”. His excitement is contagious as we help him make his way to his wheelchair and then we all pile into the car. Never really needing an excuse, Pipa loved a field trip. It is a perfect afternoon. Pipa gets to see what he wants to see, and the kids get to spend time with him and share some pizza as an extra bonus.

It is a day to add to our wonderful Pipa memories. When we get back to his apartment, he hands me a check for $5,000. “This is seed money. Go for it!” he says and with that I was given the endorsement I needed. That was the last time I saw my dad. The seed money was enough to propel me into entrepreneurship and create a business that helped to bring me back to life in more ways than one.

I know Pipa is proud of me and what I created. EZpaint is celebrating it’s 10-year anniversary this year and can be found in local stores, online and on Amazon.

Thank you for reading our story!

Love and EZPaint,