As a child I moved often – about every year and half or two years. I was always the “new kid.” I remember in adolescence when my Dad sat us down and told us we were moving again, I glared at him and told him something that broke his heart: “Why do I even bother making friends, when we’re just going to have to leave again?”
I had a pit in my stomach for much of my childhood. I used to think it was because I was always doing “new,” now at 45 I realize that it was more because I didn’t have enough “old.”
Looking back I can see that moving so often was ultimately good for me. It resulted in me being very close to my parents and my brother. When you are each other’s only friends for a month or so on a regular basis, it changes your family. It helped me overcome my introverted shyness, teaching me that I had to open up and branch out for survival. It taught me great lessons in observation and adaptation, things I could never have learned any other way. I notice things about people and places, subtleties and subtexts, and I believe it made me a better writer. Or made me a writer at all, since I chronicled most of my anxiety and angst in my volumes of journals. Only recently have I discovered that moving so often also lit a core fire of restlessness in me, one I try to stoke regularly with adventure, challenge, and intentional change.
When I had children of my own, I wanted roots, consistency, a nest. Aside from a handful of sacred friendships I have cultivated throughout a lifetime, I had never had a real, localized group of friends until I had my babies. I never knew how much I needed a tribe until I became a mother. It soon became clear to me that a tribe was not a luxury, it was a freaking necessity.
So 18 years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest child, my son Luke, I opened to friendship in an entirely new way. I met Paige, whom I refer to as my wingman or my bffl (middle-school-yearbook-speak for “best friend for life”) when we were both pregnant for the first time. It glued us together as only hormones and shared epic experience can do. Two years later I had my twin daughters, Grace and Isabelle. My tribe grew.
“IT SOON BECAME CLEAR TO ME
THAT A TRIBE WAS NOT A LUXURY, IT WAS
A FREAKING NECESSITY.”
But you should know it grew slowly and intentionally. Unlike my childhood years, when I was simply happy for any friend and all, now I was picky. People in my tribe had to be carefully vetted. My innermost circle consisted of women who were exceptional, fierce, passionate, honest, smart, brave, and damn funny. We did more than have lunch or get spa treatments or attend PTA meetings. Though those things are also good.
We trained together; shoot, I didn’t even know I was a runner until after I became a mother. We ran marathons, we started a Bible Study, and we talked about deep and difficult things. We wanted to love our children and really raise them, which is different than simply watching them grow. Over time, we earned the right to say it like it is, or at least how we see it. We showed up for each other through miscarriages, diagnoses, job loss, identity shifts, divorce, moving, special needs children, change, grief, betrayal, and loss. We watched each other get lost, and we stood in solidarity, shining like lighthouses, until we were safely ashore and accounted for once again.
Years after our tribe was established, one of my peeps sent me a card with this quote on it.
“Call it a Clan. Call it a Network.
Call it a Tribe. Call it a Family.
Whatever you call it, whoever you are,
You need one.” – Jane Howard
This put into words the primitive feelings I have about my friends, and their families. We are a clan. We are a network. We are a tribe. We are family. We need each other.
If you have a tribe, I smile and wink and acknowledge our shared understanding, connection and gratitude.
If you don’t, it’s time to get one. Don’t wait until times are desperate. Now. Now. Now. You need your tribe now – especially if you are a mom. Red Tent Wisdom prevails – we were never meant to do this female thing alone.
Find your people. Join a Moms in Motion Tribe. Lead a Tribe if you don’t have one near you. Do whatever it takes to find like-minded, like-spirited, like-hearted people to share your journey.
It changes everything – because it changes you.
Moms In Motion Contributor
A view into our MIM history and the amazing women who spearheaded carrying out our mission. The year may be different but the heart of our Tribe is still the same!