And I think it's clear I am happiest when my clan is all together.
After the clan our circle widens for more family and then the friends we see as family and then friends, colleagues etc.
In the past week I found myself part of a some tribes or circles I hadn't really anticipated.
We loaded up the truck affectionately known as "Rolling Blue Thunder" and we rolled onto a ferry and over to Victoria to move Miss L into her first apartment. It's the ground floor suite of a house a 10 minutes walk from UVic and though it is older and has some "lovely" fixtures, it is perfectly perfect for her.
We unpacked and started settling in, putting together all the furniture we had to take apart to move, squeezing in ALL the kitchen goods into a tiny kitchen, realising what we had forgotten to bring or purchase, making lists.
And then we headed out to get those things and to do a pantry stocking grocery shop (a more daunting and costly task than you might imagine!).
And this is when I noticed people in my new tribe.
As we wandered the aisles of a large store I noticed other grouping just like ours - parents and university student. We were reaching for the same items and every now and then we caught each others eye and there was a knowing look and a nod. "I see you, I get you...I also forgot to buy this child a garbage can / mirror / soy sauce..."
I overheard snippets of conversations that were comfortingly similar to our own chats and we even saw the same families from Home Depot to Canadian Tire to Bed, Bath and Beyond....and Walmart. Our shopping buggys looked like we were shopping from the same lists. And we mostly were and the stores seemed to have anticipated our needs so well. Funny that.
As I teared up in the frozen food section thinking about not cooking for this girl of mine, worrying that she will be well fed, wondering if she has enough of everything...I felt this new tribe of mine all around me and I felt the funny relief one feels when you know so many others are going through exactly what you are, and if they seem to be rocking it then you surely can too. And we all smile bravely.
So we soldiered on and we ended up with a very lovely, comfy and well put together apartment - much nicer than the one Allan and I first shared when we got married - that is for sure! All our thrifty finds and upcycled goods looked polished and lovely and I think she will be very comfortable and hopefully very happy (and well fed) there.
So we rolled on back to the ferry - some of our tribe still around us - some sad without that university student of theirs. We convinced ours to come home for a few days as she had little left to do for the 5 days before classes start. And 5 days until her internet is hooked up (an eternity!). It didn't take much persuasion - I think a certain tall, blonde, Vancouver boy had something to do with that too.
And we have had a wonderful 3 days with our clan at home (or as "at home" as 2 teens ever are).
Tomorrow is my last first day as Mom of a school age child. I'll join the tribe of parents demanding First Day photos and I'll wave from the front door as Mr D heads off to Grade 12. My heart, like many in this tribe, will be a little achy. But we got this...we can do this...we can be the village, the tribe, for one another.
So if you see someone in your tribe tomorrow - a smile will go a long way to helping us get through another day on this funny journey of life.