tribe/trīb/noun: tribe; plural noun: tribes
- a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.
for the past three years my fiancé, Reggie, and i have taken our little tribe to spring vacation at our lake house. being that this is our third year, it has now become a tradition. this year, we hosted 60 of some of our dearest friends and some family to join in with the good times! our two oldest, Collin and Taylor brings along friend or two, while our little guys Drew, Caruso and Roman have their cousins to hang out with them. over a six day stay we engaged in great food, conversations, games, boating and much needed laughter! I knew that I would journal about our vacation, but as I was reflecting I decided to share with you my experience.
this year was amazing, everything just felt right. my parents came up, we had some of our closets friends to visit and some to stay in the house too! for this reason we try to make it like a little retreat or getaway for them. spring break falls on our youngest son’s, Roman, birthday. I prepared a family style Italian meal for the first night everyone arrived. I made several family favorites, but the lasagna seemed to be a big hit. here is the link to a simple easy recipe. on friday, my nephews, in-laws, girlfriends and the children were settling in our residence, but the party really started once my friend Ashley – aka, Auntie Sophia – and her son, Miles arrived! it felt like twenty more people joined and all of a sudden the atmosphere was set! to witness our family laughing, engaging and connecting with one another was my ultimate highlight and a glimpse of how our new home will be once it is finished being built.
last year was our first time that the teens had their “bake-off” challenge. the girls won last year, but it was a close victory for the boys this year. we brought Roman in as the fourth judge to be the tie breaker. with his vote, the girls beat the boys with their creativity by making whipped cream and cake pops!
to keep the children occupied and entertained we assigned big brothers and sisters to the little boys who were 11 and under to the teens. this way, the parents could relax a little more and a better way for all of the children to bond with each other, as well. besides celebrating Roman’s birthday, all of the children enjoyed the hot tub, tons of goodies to snack on, their own living quarters, boating, building “forts” and making up dance routines. before cake and ice cream, we left the children with the all the grandparents for our turn on the lake. the children’s Godfather, Desmond, was the dj as Reggie’s brother, Ray took over as the captain for the adults boat ride! after the party settled down, the teens were treated to the movies to see “Us” – which they selected- and the adults had our time in the hot tub!
during my first marriage, I never called my then mother-in-law any marital term of endearments (i.e. mom, momma, ma). it’s not that i did not like her, because I did and still do to this day. she’s sweet, loving, caring and a wonderful grandmother. but out of all of the 24 years of me knowing her, 10 years of my marriage to her son, i never felt a mother/daughter-in-law connection, if you will. with that always in mind, i had made a promise to myself that whenever I was ready to remarry, make it a priority to connect with my future mother-in-law. it feels really good to call my now mother-in-law “mom”. the past two years at the lake house reggie’s parents were there, but this year, I suggested that they stay in our house – for goodness sake, we had plenty of room. his brothers and sister were apart of the crew too! there were many other reasons as to why my future in-laws should have lodged with us, but the most important was for the connection not only for me, but for the children too. growing up, i was raised by and around my elders – be it my grandparents, aunts, uncles, my friends’ parents – so it has always been important for my children to have the same type of experience, and they do, but now they are having their unit expanded due to us blending now.
quick story – i met Kyla twenty years ago in high school. who knew that from us being captains on a our high school’s dance team that we would still be the best of friends? aside from all the many wonderful things that there are to love about Kyla, my favorite part of her is her family. to know any of them is to be fascinated and enamored by their gifts and talents, beauty, love for God and each other and their rich family history. other than of my family – which is filled with an amazingly rich family history of our own. the Patterson’s are what I guessed how i wanted to mirror my future family to be like. they are an example of what i had imagined for a black family full of excellence would be. with their big family dinners, celebrations, solid sibling bonds, a hosts of friends who became family are just a few examples. after all, i grew up watching the cosby show, fresh prince of bel-air, family matters, and now, black’ish, so to have a friend with a family that i deemed like my favorite t.v. families- i knew that was something that i wanted for myself. through my evolution from getting married, to getting a divorce, to being single and dating, back to getting married again, one thing has never changed for me was establishing a tribe of my own – like the Pattersons.
during the earlier years of us dating, reggie was often questioned about me having children, as if he didn’t have any children of his own or that me being a woman with children was a curse. he was asked “what are you going to do about those kids?” listen, i had a whole family, meaning i didn’t think that my future would result in me being divorced with three children. also, they didn’t know that my three beautiful, talent, intelligent children were well taken care of and loved way before i even met him. but i guess while those people were so distracted by my three wonderful children, they never realized that my guy was pursuing me in a very major way.
after committing to one another……and each others children, we decided to created our own version of the black family. we have set family goals, traditions, and the pursuit of high educational values. we have opened our hearts and home to each other’s side of the family and friends. my children now have another aunt (for me another sister), two more uncles and an extra set of grandparents to love. and let me not get into how many more aunts, uncles and cousins my bonus sons now have from my side! through the both of us, we have been able to restore two broken families by joining together. we have created a safe haven of love for our children and grandchildren. we are no longer two single parents trying to navigate through life alone. i now have five children instead of three. i now have more birthdays to plan, more graduations to celebrate. i will have more hands to hold, more problems to help solve, and more cheeks to kiss. the very thing that outsiders “questioned” reggie about is the very thing that both, he and i, wanted. isn’t God faithful?
my tribe is beautiful, complete and my lineage is growing.
as always, thank you for reading. be sure to leave a comment and to share this post!
with love from my family to yours