Under the Oak Tree

There was this perfect oak tree, growing on 14 acres with a pond, in the middle of nowhere Texas. A single acre had been carved out and a dozen oak trees planted. We've no idea how long ago or by whom, but the site was lovely. Tommy and I would walk over and admire the place when visiting my parents. We learned that my cousins, who owned the place, would be willing to sell to us, so we made plans. And this tree was where we made them.

We placed an offer on the property. Tommy started looking for jobs and found one after only a few weekend trips. He put in his notice and we listed our house on the market. During that time we also decided to start making our own jewelry, and having fallen in love with the oak tree, we decided to name our company after it.

We sold the house in a matter of days. We said our good-byes to family and friends and left most of our belongings to the new owner, a single mom. Our Tax ID came in just days before leaving. We moved our 27' RV to my parent's place and started our new life. During that time we revisiting that oak tree often. Marking out the house so that the living room and back porch would face the pond. A shop for Tommy to make jewelry would be to one side of the acre and a greenhouse and small barn for goats, chickens and maybe a horse or two one day. We would keep a path to the pond mowed, and maybe a few walking trails, but the other 13 acres we'd leave untouched.

The oak tree was going to be in our front yard so we could watch our 4 year old twirl on her tire swing and climb to read books. We thought of picnics and parties, maybe even a wedding one day. That tree held so many dreams in its strong boughs. We knew it would be a part of our lives forever.

The plan was to start building within the first 6 months. Tommy, having had a 14 year apprenticeship as a bench jeweler, went into his new job with confidence. On day one they handed him what they thought would be a weeks’ worth of work, but he was done before noon. So he took on 2 more jobs. The timeline was changing. Plans were altered. Dreams had to adapt. And after 14 months and several heartbreaking experiences, we knew the dream wasn't happening. At least not there, at that time, under the oak tree we made so many plans under.

So when one of his 3 jobs went full time, we adapted. We moved from the country, where the closest store and hospital was 30 minutes away. To a tiny house with 2 bedrooms and 1 bath in the middle of the city. The melancholy of leaving our dreams behind quickly faded when the twins arrived. We were so busy that the old dream of having our own business slipped away as well. But the oak tree never left our mind and we continue the business, but on a small scale as a hobby. We had plans on staying here till the kids graduated. Everything else was up in the air. We'd learned that dreaming can damage the soul, and so we stopped looking so far ahead. Each new day was enough.

And then the world shut down and Tommy was laid off, via a text. His job of 12 years, working 6 days a week, the one that supported our family of 5 was gone. He didn't lose a job and a friend, we both did. And it hurt. But we didn't have time to process all those emotions. We had work to do, unemployment to apply for, updating old resumes, waiting for local shops to reopen, hoping to find anything. And even though he's the one working outside of the home 6 days a week, we've always been a team.

And then one night, when he fought down the emotions of feeling discarded, I ran to the living room, dusted off a print I had made with our oak tree in the background, across it read, "If you don't build your own dreams, someone else will hire you to build theirs". That same tree, the one we left behind all those years ago, it never left us. And so we let a few tears fall, and on his birthday we rebuilt our brand, opened our own site and decided it was time to start building... in the middle of a pandemic. Because one of the things Tommy and I do well, is work through hard times. Like an oak tree, our roots are strong and we can adapt to all kinds of weather.

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