A Tribe of Her Own
By Lori Welch Brown
A Tribe of Her Own
I pride myself on being a girl’s girl. The friendships I’ve built with other females have sustained me my entire life. I grew up with three brothers so I wasn’t born into a sisterhood, but I learned early on that a girl tribe was important to not only my personal well-being, but also my development and overall sanity. My first childhood bestie had an older sister, and I was jealous of that dynamic except on the days they were fighting like two alley cats. Over the years, I’ve cultivated a veritable garden of friends and they all nourish my soul in different ways. They feed my need for inner calm, peace and harmony. A few recognize and join me in my need to occasionally howl at the moon. Some join me on the yoga mat; others saddle up next to me for happy hour and venting. A couple others pull up an easel beside me as we encourage each others’ creative muse. Others offer sage professional advice; others relationship wisdom. They range in age from ten years my junior to a couple decades on the journey ahead of me. A couple of my besties recently joined me at the beach and my sides still hurt from all the raucous laughter. Lucky for me, my head stopped hurting after only one day from the hangover. Ouch.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day this month, I’ve been thinking a lot about ALL the great women in my life—my Mother being the first one on the scene. Mom has been gone from this planet 13 years—long enough that I have to stop and think of the year, but not so long that I’ve forgotten that she loved Dr. Phil, Peppermint Patties, a good pair of worn Levis, flip flops and her dog, Molly—not necessarily in that order. Some days it seems like just yesterday when I would come home to the blinking light on my answering machine and hear her voice calling out,“Looorrrriiii—it’s Mom. Where are you?!,” as if I were merely in the next room. Regrettably, there were many times in my life when I was sad and annoyed that her voice was the only message instead of some random guy I was hoping would call (they never did when you wanted them to, by the way). Nope. Only mom. The only constant in my life. I’d step over a million guys to hear her voice again.
I am blessed with a phenomenal girl tribe which I attribute to the unconditional love of that very first member. She taught me what it was like to be a woman. She taught me to be kind and turn the other cheek when necessary. She taught me that the high road was the only road. She wasn’t perfect, but she didn’t let her flaws get in the way of her family. Family first. Actually—that’s not true. Her pecking order was: 1) Self; 2) God; 3) Spouse; and 4) Children. Once you got to the children, they were all equal. (For the record, Molly may have been 4; kids 5, but I can’t be sure). While I wasn’t blessed with birth sisters, these women are my soul sisters. They are friends, cousins, mentors, colleagues, etc., but they are my sisters nonetheless. I have cried with them, laughed with them, drank with them until the cows came home, and shared countless stories and secrets. They have been my oxygen and my H2O. And, that’s why I’ve been a little unsettled this past month. I hurt another woman. I won’t go into the nitty-gritty details because they don’t matter. What matters is that I am okay and she is not. She wasn’t in my tribe, but we shared a common bond. After ten plus years of knowing each other, we still didn’t really ‘get’ each other. Some will say we never got along—we didn’t like each other. I don’t think that is a fair assessment. I have crossed paths with a few women I didn’t necessarily ‘like’, but we were able to get along just fine. Not everyone can be in your tribe! We don’t have to all hold hands and sing camp songs to get along in this world. It’s what we refer to as ‘adulting.’ We didn’t communicate well with each other—that was our downfall. Conversations were uncomfortable so I mostly avoided them. She never trusted me, but I knew that was her baggage. I didn’t adequately show my gratitude for the good things and held up a microscope to the bad things. She blames me for things that were out of my control, and I stopped communicating altogether when I felt I could no longer maintain control. I should have and could have done better and for that I am truly sorry. I made a lot of mistakes, but hopefully I’ll learn from them and will be a better woman in the end because of it. In the meantime, I wish her peace, love and light and a tribe of her own as there is no greater gift.
Happy Mother’s Day!!! Hug ‘em if you got ‘em!!!