Yes, we’re finally in Doha. Safe and sound. All of us. Including Pixie, who has taken to expat pet life like an expat human’s toes to the poolside. There were no toddlers thrown from the plane or seven year olds talked down from the ceilings (no, that was the day AFTER we arrived!).
I am still gathering my thoughts on the mayhem and mania of the past fortnight, from unexpected trips to secure papers for the aforementioned feline to goodbyes, real ones this time with tears and silent gasping hugs.
Now I’m home. Well, I’m in what what should be home. Except it still feels slightly alien. New. Apart from the shopping malls, which are like home but bigger, glossier and inhabited by a populace that looks and feels vastly different. There’s a post in those feelings, but my fingers aren’t yet ready to type it. The fatigue is real. So tonight, in the vein of being still at home, I’d like to pay tribute to my tribe.
I am aware that there’s no little irony in posting about the importance of a tribe after you move over 5,000km away from them, but actually they become so much more important to you over the course of that journey.
Don’t take your tribe for granted. Look at those in your life and ask who will be there for you and cherish them. My tribe is so much bigger and stronger than I ever realised.
My own family, without a doubt, were my rock during four months of sole parenting. From grandparent time and care and uncle and aunt babysitting, to sorting, packing and lugging many, many boxes into cars and up and down attic stairs. They also provide tea. Lots of it. I’d have been lost without them.
Equally, I’m blessed with in-laws that I cherish. I know, I know. It’s neither trendy nor cool to say how amazing your in-laws are, but in my case it’s true. From the always there when needed loving support of my parents-in-law, to my sister- and brother-in-law who minded their nieces and nephew through vomiting bugs and loved opening their home to them at a time of massive change in their lives and who dropped everything and ran to help me when A was admitted to hospital with pneumonia.
Extended family. I have a small but incredibly close extended family. They have all helped in little ways beyond measure to balance me at times of stress, provide a sounding board for my worries and fears and just generally being there if needed.
Friends – you know who you are. The encouragers. The time-out friends who remind you that you have your own identity amidst the chaos. Those who have been there a very long time, and those who are new.
Colleagues – the ones who say nothing when you come in with food stains on your behind. And your hair not done. Those who take you aside during meltdowns so you can compose and dry your stressed out tears. The ones who buy Eddie Rockets or who simply stop and check in. I worked with one of the best companies in Ireland when it comes to colleagues.
Broader tribe – I’ve never been great at meeting and socialising with school mums. I’m not great in crowded spots anyway, so school gates aren’t the best for flying conversations for me. So imagine my surprise and gratitude when some of the mothers in B’s class offered to help with a going away party. There was cake, and food, and hands, lots of hands, to help tidy and clean and remove the stress. That’s a tribe I should have engaged with more before. Honestly it was a lesson to me to open up more. Thank you.
Facebook friends. I know some people scoff at online communities, but my sense of tribe includes those who I know only online. That tribe is one that you can often contact when the real world seems too much or too hard. They don’t judge.
They’re my tribe. A vast messy Venn diagram of love and support with me in the centre. I’m lucky to be there.
I may be far away but I’ll always be just a message, call or email away. Love you all X