Tribal Confusions


I think the oldest girl in my odd assorted household said it best, "We are a tribe…"

She pinned the tail on the donkey with that statement. Most people do not understand how the connection among us is as strong as it is since we are not all blood. In our family, when horror hits, we gather round as if we all came from the same place though in reality-we come from very different places.

In days gone by, when a person was without a parent, a sibling, a grandfather, etc., they were taken into another family and told, "You are part of us now." It didn't seem unusual like it does now. It used to be a normal thing to take care of others and not something eccentric or noble. It isn't either of those things. It's what humanity should be.

Most people on the outside looking in never realize that ties of love bind us intricately and make us forget that we are not related. People wonder all the time how each of us is there--too closely immersed in each other's lives, to ever walk away easily. Love does not allow it. Love does not allow any of us to turn our backs and forget that we are somehow connected as we were intended to be. Truly.

Our "tribe" does not only consist of those living in my home. They consist of those who we draw to us who have somehow become too important to us to call merely friend. They are the people we bring to us to be part of home.

There are those who call us strange, untraditional, unconventional and a bit crazy. Our home is always filled with chaos and uproar. But mostly it is filled with love and genuine caring and the worry that comes along with actually giving a damn about other people. We laugh so much- more than we cry. We share stories and joys and sorrows and our very lives.

It's sometimes difficult in situations that arise to explain how we are family without being actual blood family. It is hard to say, "No, I'm not her mother but she is mine." The children call each other brothers and sisters and people look at us a bit bewildered wondering how that is possible. Yet at the same time, I can't imagine having our lives any other way.

I am blessed to have a large wonderful blood family. I am blessed they accept and have pulled all of "My People" right into their lives however weird it may seem. And I am blessed to have a "tribe" that continues to grow and add to all of us in the most interesting ways. We are lucky.

Monika M. Basile