My Tribe: Experiencing Loss

Moms talk a lot about their tribe and mine has looked different throughout the 6 years I’ve been a full time mom. I started out with mom friends from an amazing Mommy & Me class, which in hindsight was more for the moms than the kids. We went for the kids but we got so much more out of having someone else who was sharing the ups and downs of being a new mom. Some of those friendships have carried on despite moves and distance. 

The most enduring tribe I’ve had the honor of calling mine has been our neighbors.

Neighbor and childMy husband and I have a unique habit of befriending the more mature neighbors and developing relationships with them that we treasure. One of our first neighbors is a retired engineer and moved back to Ohio after he decided his snowbird years were behind him. My husband still calls him to talk about work and I will always treasure the way Grayson’s eyes would light up when Stan would describe how the lawn mower fuel filter worked. I’d been trying to mow the lawn and the lawnmower had been acting up so he installed a new filter. Another of our original neighbors still checks in after storms and we check in on her. She follows Grayson’s progress on social media and is always eager to hear how he’s doing. 

Our current neighborhood has spoiled me and of course Grayson. He’s the only kid in the neighborhood and they treat him like an honorary grandchild, showering him with sugar. One neighbor (who I won’t name) gifted him a commercial size box of Fun Dip last year. (As a refresher: Fun Dip is a sugar stick that you dip in sugar powder). I’m saving that for when he goes to her house. 

We learned a hard lesson about having a tribe.

We lost one of our own this year and our hearts are broken. Grayson seems to be taking it better than I am, just concerned that he’s in heaven and that we get to visit his grave. I can’t look at his house without tearing up. He was the neighbor we drove by every time we left, would wave and stop for a chat most of the time. He helped me learn how to back a trailer in (I still suck at it but not because he didn’t try) and gave me lessons on driving our boat when it caused too much tension between my husband and I. He would have solo karaoke parties and play AC/DC just for us, because he knew we could hear. I took for granted that he would always be just outside the kitchen window and I wish I had told him how important he was to us. Hopefully he knew. 

This year is hard.

I have to remind myself of the good times we shared, the happiness he brought into our lives and the happiness we brought him. And I will always remind Grayson of Captain Bob when we make our way down the river.