I don't know about you, but I walk into church most Sundays, see a group of moms enjoying the day at the zoo with their kids, or watch viral videos of two best friends talking mom-life in the front of their car...and immediately I'm reminded that I don't belong to a tribe.
I don't have the cool "mom-tribe" t-shirt. I don't have a group text between moms, talking about what's coming out of our kid's face, or the rash on their belly. I don't have someone to simply call up and say, "Hey, I'm wearing yesterday's pants, Monday's hair, and I'm in desperate need of a coffee. Wanna meet at Target?"
Sure, I know plenty of good people and sweet moms, but I haven't found my place in a tribe...at least I didn't think so.
Last weekend, I drove five hours west to my hometown. Within hours of arriving, my parent's home was full of almost fifty people. In laws of the in-laws, friends of friends, clients turned mentors, sorority sisters, students turned sisters, friends turned spouses, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings, parents- Four generations of people laughing, talking, eating, playing, and worshiping together.
Towards the end of the night, those people, all of whom I love so much, surprised me with a shower for our third baby girl. With every gift opened, it was as if they knew I worried if she'd be treated as special as our other two girls. Every gift was so carefully considered that I was so overwhelmed it was hard to speak. For the rest of the weekend, I lived in the glow of that night. A night set aside for family and friends, fellowship, and worship.
When we left town on Monday, my eyes welled with tears. I didn't want to leave. Life out west was full of so many people. But life headed East seemed isolating and lonely.
As the dust and dirt turned to green and lush, the Lord impressed upon my heart- I don't have a mom-tribe or a squad by the modern definition, but I do have a tribe, bound by much more than children of similar ages and proximity.
My tribe consists of a friend from my sophomore year of high school, who met her husband, my "adopted" brother, at my wedding. She now teaches with my mom. My tribe consists of a girl from choir, who often was the ONLY girl who treated me with kindness my senior year of high school. Together, we've sang karaoke on the beach, and she was there as I fell madly in love with my husband. My tribe consists of a sorority sister, whose first night spent with me resulted in a wreck (not my fault!). She now shares a special bond with my curly-headed girl! And another sorority sister who made me cry the first time we ever met. We've done everything from wearing flower crowns at a Justin Bieber concert, to highlighting each other's hair in my bathroom. My tribe consists of a group of TEN girlfriends from high school who still group text every week, despite the fact that we are spread out through five different states.
They have loved me, loved my husband, and loved my girls with wild abandon.
My tribe includes a voice student turned sister-in-law, whose encouragement guides me through every family function. We've chopped our hair, stayed up watching Friends while eating bags of gummy bears, and talked well into the morning. My tribe includes a cousin, whom I have always loved as a sister, and an aunt, whose laugh I share. My mom whose heart I long to reflect. Who has dropped everything to come care for my sick husband, as I was pregnant and caring for our one year old.
And standing beside me, no matter the distance, is my sister. The one who was there when no one else was. The one who has checked on me everyday for weeks and months. The one who has been on her knees before the throne, praying on my behalf. The one who has been a friend every place we've been and every journey we've walked.
I don't get to plan play-dates or girls' nights with my tribe. In fact, most days hundreds of miles separate us. We don't have special t-shirts, and some I haven't seen in years.
But proximity doesn't determine depth, and miles never negate worth. For though my tribe can't always physically be here on a daily basis, they always show up when I need them most. Whether it be a girl's trip to the ocean, or a simple text to say I looked beautiful in my latest post. Whether it be a meme that perfectly describes us, or a trip to pick out a gift special to the baby girl I carry- my tribe shows up.
And when I sit on a stretch of highway, isolated and lonely, with the brown dust of the Earth blurring my vision, I am reminded, those women God has placed in my corner, are there even when I can't see them.
They are my friends, my sisters, my family, my warriors- My tribe.
And I couldn't be more blessed.