We knew that the oil industry was slowing down in the Spring, but on April 1, Graham was unexpectedly laid off, as in, "today is the last day of work we have for you and you only have 1 paycheck to last until you find a new job" unexpected. It would have been easy for our friends and family to say, "You should have managed your money better," but lucky for us, they possess a certain kindness that I will try to describe in this post.
We instantly started the dreaded JOB SEARCH, but ultimately, we wanted a career change, so we did a lot of endless brainstorming. For lack of great descriptions for how we felt, we were down, bummed, scared, lost, and feeling inadequate. Although times were dark as we didn't know what was next, we experienced love in ways that spoke to the heart of our very beings and deeply moved us.
Mom sent us grocery gift cards...I never thought I'd be so happy to go to King Soopers, she knows me well enough to know the first thing I would be stressing over! Sina cooked us dinner and made yummy drinks, but would not allow me to contribute. She held a Happy Hour with all of my favorite foods/drinks on a particularly difficult week....that is a service that brings tears to my eyes. Stephen thought it impossible for his friends to job search without a fridge full of beer (which was suddenly 100% cut out of our budget,) so he came to town, took us out for drinks, and filled our beer fridge with 75 beers!..cheers to best friends who know us well! Ryan and Tam had asked us to take their girls for a weekend while they were in Jamaica...he sent $50 for us since he knew we had no extra cash to do anything fun with the kids. We enjoyed a splurge lunch out and got some special popsicles for the cousins...it's the little things! Dad called and offered us to move in with him and to take jobs at his company...obviously we didn't do it, but it was nice to know we had a place to go if we needed it! I had to cancel Alastair and Francis's haircut appointments as that also got cut from the budget. My hair stylist got word that I had canceled (and knew why) so she called me right back and offered to do it all for free! That's like $60 worth of service! Rob, my stepdad, flew out here just to encourage us to keep brainstorming and keep on keepin on! He took Graham and me out for a night on the town and left a pile of cash for us to set aside as "fun money." This is an act that cannot be described with words, but felt like a set of arms around our family when we needed it most. Melissa and Erik, Graham's mom and stepdad, came out and took us out a couple of times and bought our kids new tennis shoes to start school with...much needed and again, not in our budget. The kids are stoked and I think they enjoyed a shopping spree with Grandma and Grandpa! I had three different preschool moms (some that I barely knew) offer to take care of my girls when I went to work at the end of the school year...I hadn't had to arrange childcare for work in a couple of years, ugh! They (Cheri, Jacqui, Katie) made it so easy on me!
No, we never ended up on the streets, but we were bare bones there for awhile. We got piddly, low paying jobs (I worked nights, Graham worked days) and paid our bills with the bits of money that intermittently came in. We made it work. Our dear friends and family took care of us and did the little things that made a HUGE difference. This is human spirit, the good in everyone, true community! Thank you for speaking LOVE to us in the darkest times, friends!
Fran's free haircut :)
Alastair's free haircut :)
Stephen and Graham. Thanks for coming out here, Stephen! It felt so good to be surrounded by friends!
A bike ride with Papa
A rooftop restaurant with Rob!
Girly cousins at the Kite Festival!
Maisy and Selah