I posted a silly Instagram yesterday about being thankful for bucket car seats so I could get things done while Zara snoozed, but in reality the past few days I have been thankful for much, much bigger things. You see, one year ago today my husband came home from a meeting with his employers with the worst news imaginable: his restaurant would be closing for 12 weeks over the winter and for the first time ever they would not continue to pay his salary while the restaurant was closed.
I was six weeks away from our second child’s due date and we were six weeks away from having absolutely no income at all. (Congratulations on the birth of your daughter; good luck feeding yourself and heating your home! Laugh. Out. Loud. …not) Even with a belly full of elbows and knees, my heart dropped to the floor the second Chris told me his terrible news. Panic set in. How could we possibly survive life with two kids and seasonal income? His employers suggested unemployment, but we knew that just wasn’t an option. And then the heartbreak appeared. I realized the reality of our tiny island and limited job market would very likely mean the loss of the home I had grown to love. It would mean loss of the magical place I wanted to live forever.
When Chris came out to Wyoming for an interview, I literally cried. I cried again when we decided that he would accept the job, and as I stood on the deck of the ferry, newborn Zara snuggled against my chest, watching Nantucket slip further and further away, I thought my heart would crack open with grief. I have never felt as connected to and in love with a place as I did Nantucket.
One year later, the tears are long gone and I am more than thankful for how things turned out. I am so very thankful that Chris was able to find a job quickly. I am thankful that we were able to survive on a combination of unemployment and savings, and didn’t once have to ask for help from our families. Though there is no overwhelming sense of wonder when I walk down the street in my new town, there are also some things that are better than we would have had on Nantucket. We own our home. I’ve made friends and started all my groups. We quickly settled relatively unscathed (if missing the ocean), when many people might have had a much longer job search and time without income. We were lucky. So very lucky.
I still miss Nantucket every day. I think I will spend the rest of my life trying to get back there. There’s just something about that tiny island 30 miles out-to-sea that speaks to my soul. Even after three years of walking its shores, I still felt lucky every single day to be there. I had this incredible sense of awe simply walking down the street and thinking that it was my home.
There is no magic, no wonder or awe in this coal mining town on the barren Wyoming plains, but I am thankful for it nonetheless. I can’t say that we want to be here forever, but I’m thankful that we are here now. And, today, that’s enough.