I’ve been thinking about my tribe. A group of people who have become necessary, constant. How as a mother, support and trust, an intimate community has become essential.
We search for it everywhere. We move house or stay put for it. We wonder, when we meet someone, if they could be one of our tribe.
Articles flood parenting forums about how we all need sister-wives and a collective ‘Yes!’ hits from all directions. We want this. We need this, but we don’t know how to live in this way anymore – amongst others, sharing space, giving our time so freely.
We have built walls around everyhing we do and we struggle on, unnecessary islands in need of each other.
I had this idea of a tribe in my head for a long time, since I first held my newborn daughter and read The Continuum Concept and learnt how there were women all over the world refusing isolation, demanding that they find one another.
I dreamt of a village full of people who parented in some kind of similar way, who could hold the darkest moments with you and celebrate the lightest. I fought for this. I searched and came close, sometimes, and sometimes felt the disappointment of trying to make someone into a person they were not.
I learnt to let go, and say no more. I learnt that conflict and competition were not driving forces in good relationships. I learnt to say, ‘Good for you, not for me.’ And when I knew what was not okay too, my time became so much more precious and it was easier to dig out the people I wanted to give it to.
I felt the pull of good friends, old friends, all over the world. People I see so rarely, but who are my people nonetheless . I held the dream that one day we would find ourselves in the same space once again, and we would laugh at how funny and silly our lives were, how everything and nothing had changed.
And one day I looked around at where I was, without thinking of anywhere else, and I saw it. I saw a tribe of women around me. Each of us in our separate homes, but not separate either. A village of people who had become important and necessary. Not alone. Not islands. Women who had woven their way into my life and had become my people.
People to talk to at 3am when you can’t sleep, people who go to the darkest place with you because they understand the darkest places exist whether you want them to or not.
I see these women. I notice them and I feel noticed. I feel that we are creating something so beautiful out of the ordinary moments of our lives, watching our kids and trying to figure out what and who we are in the thick of loving these tiny humans.
I know that my days are shaped by knowing them and the choice to let them in, to be there for them, too. I know they will carry my babies in their arms and in slings, would nurse them if I asked, because I know they love my children the way I love theirs.
Maybe we don’t need communes or tents but a choice to soften our edges and let the right ones in. To love and be loved. To be vulnerable and open with those who will tell us, ‘I’m here for you’ when you don’t know what to do.
Over time, we learn how to hold space. We talk about dinners and partners. About work and people who annoy us. We bring each other food. We drink iced coffees and whisper secrets in the garden whilst our kids dig in the sandbox. We laugh at dirty things.
We hold space for each other. We know not to decide what matters and what doesn’t. We hold it all equally and over time we find we have become a part of each other that is immovable.
We carry each other.