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"The Mama Tribe"

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The air in the room pulsated in equal excitement and trepidation. A gaggle of women confused with where to sit, how many more would be arriving, and the hectic pace of the restaurant quickly introduced themselves to one another. Long lost friends cried in tight embraces and strangers struck up conversations typically reserved for one’s closest friends. How did this collection of seasoned mothers from all over Northern Colorado find one another?

I can’t really articulate the genesis of this group nor can I craft sentences to capture the power of this collective. But let me tell you this—the importance of developing a sanctuary of support in meaningful relationships can vastly transform the quality of life for many.

I sat watching reserved women smile as they observed listening to riotous laughter. I witnessed the instant connections between ladies whom only knew one another through random posts attached to profile pictures. I saw mamas rock babies, mamas miss rocking babies, and caregivers lean in to listen to their littles’ whispers of conversation.

Not everyone thrives off social connections but as human beings we do have social needs. As a mother entrenched in the hardships of parenting I find comfort in the company of mothers with the same desire as mine: to form lasting authentic relationships rooted in genuine care. I don’t have time to test out mom friends or make playdates as often as I prefer. I'm far too cautious with my heart after repeated loss.

Yet despite the noise level as well as the clutter of food, napkins and strawberry lemonades littering the table last night I experienced the solace of sisterhood. I knew few of the women personally yet I felt surrounded by the unique kinship of these folks.

Social media often scourges the quality of my days stealing time and involving me in gossip I do not need to know. But this particular social media forum in my life has birthed new possibilities for me as I continue to recover from PTSD and make sense of this new self post these past 5 tumultuous years. I’ve discovered safety in this setting and I cherish I finally got to hug people who’ve been such a source of comfort for me.

As I hugged friends goodbye I didn’t want to leave. This experience felt too special to just walk away from. As I squeezed a particular mama goodbye, the one with a tiny newborn strapped close to her bosom and a toddler at her feet, she said something that took me aback, “You’re amazing.” I didn’t know how to take the compliment. I fumbled over a thank you and thought to myself: My god these women are amazing. Each one. They bravely face the challenges of parenting, divorcing or tackling relationship issues, they proclaim vulnerability while championing strength. They help those around them rise up and feel validation. They laugh when a situation is so ridiculous the only thing to do is chuckle and practice the fine art of moving on.

Joining this circle of women took risk… and now I feel immense pride I took the time to introduce myself to these strangers that I now see as gorgeous, priceless friends. My life changed last night--- I felt worthy of making friends and I experienced joy in their company. Build your “tribe” or “village” because these connections, even if small in number, will be the ones that lift you when you cannot lift yourself.

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