When my children were small, I heard often that I should relish in their young moments because time flies for parents. That in the blink of an eye, those precious little faces morph into high school graduates, off to begin a young adult life. I would smile and nod while being pulled away by a little hand with an urgent request to “potty” or address another small child need. In the moment, I couldn’t focus on these far away events or even imagine the idea of my little people going to kindergarten; but inevitably, here I live in the completion of senior portraits, recent memories of pre-prom pictures and the anticipation of my tears on graduation day.

As I think of those words that seemed to go in one ear and quickly leave the other, I find myself sharing that same advice to the young families that I meet and connect with regularly.

One of the things that I find my family is most blessed with, is the team of individuals, or my tribe, who have embraced their roles in both mine and my children’s lives. These people make it easy to run around like a wild woman, while supporting my crazy requests, and assisting in making my role look easy. The reality of it is, that without these people surrounding me and their constant support through the years, I’m not really sure how we’d have gotten everything done.

When I think of the personal village and tribe members in my life, I can’t help but recognize the people who were there during my childhood years.I believe that people come and go during each season of your life. Where sometimes there is the physical aspect of entering and departing, which tends to be much more difficult, more times than not, there is the season ending departure or the point at which individuals are no longer as close to your situation because you begin a new phase of life.

When I think of the personal village and tribe members in my life, I can’t help but recognize the people who were there during my childhood years. My mom and the built-in family support system that came in the form of loving grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. The teachers who encouraged and poured ideas into me while I was in their care at school. The people who stayed with me when my parents were away, the neighbors and church members who loved on me and shared their own experiences at each point of my life. Those who offered advice, that I sometimes didn’t take seriously and those who demonstrated how to live, by living out loud.

I’m so thankful to the people that mentored me when I left home, just a girl, and helped me establish myself as a young woman determined to succeed in this life on my own.

Today, as an adult, a wife and a mother, some of my long-time village members still allow me to lean on them. New tribes have formed in the face of each phase of marriage and parenthood. Colleagues have presented themselves initially, as professional work partners, but turned out to be some of my best friends.

Finally, those seasoned village and tribe members who have been in my shoes, as I prepare to enter the next transition of life by sending my first child off to begin her own journey – they are the ones who allow me the time I need to process all of this. They share the feelings with me that they know I’m experiencing but try hard to hide. They are walking closely with me, with outstretched arms – much like I did when I watched carefully as my children took their first steps and rode bikes for the first time, always holding a supportive hand out toward them as a safety net or being right there to pick them up when they fell. My village, my tribe is still with me offering the words I need or the embrace when words won’t suffice, all wrapped up in the beautifully packaged love that only a true friend and village member can give.

 

 


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