Finding a Tribe: A Day At The Beach?

In my Dear Fat Mommy in the Swimsuit post, I mentioned that I was going to take my daughter back to the beach the next weekend.  Despite all of my reservations about being in a swimsuit in public, we were going back.  But this trip wasn’t a trip with close family; it was a trip with friends.  Other women.  Other women who I think look much better in swimsuits than me.  I thought I would spend the day comparing my body to theirs, hiding in my sundress.

My daughter would have none of that hiding stuff.  She wanted to be in the water.  She wanted to be running around, playing and enjoying the PERFECT weather.  (I mean, it was sunny and 85 and just a smidge humid.  It was a day meant for being at the beach!)  Even Lake Michigan wasn’t too cold.  It’s a Great Lake.  It’s big.  It doesn’t warm up like some little backwoods swimming hole lake.

So I stripped off the dress and headed for the water.  And you know what?  I didn’t spend the time wondering about what they thought of my body.  I didn’t spend the time thinking about theirs.  I didn’t spend the time comparing and analyzing.  I spent the time having fun.  My daughter and I played Jet-Ski (basically, it’s playing pony, only underwater.  And you’re crawling on sand.  My thighs hurt for days.)  I laid on a beach chair, chatting about kids, husbands, PCOS… anything.  It was wonderful.

But it wasn’t long ago that I didn’t even know those awesome women.  I’ve been a SAHM for the last year (not a lot of meeting new people there), and for about 4 years before that, I was a full-time student.  Most of the people I met were either a decade younger than me (fellow students) or about a decade older than me (professors).  Yes, I made some great connections and even a few friendships, but no one was really at the same point in life as me.  No one had young kids driving them mad.  No one was dealing with postpartum depression or the isolation of being a SAHM.  Struggling to pay for diapers or day care.

It was just me and my husband it seemed.  Us against the world.  And I couldn’t do it.  I needed a friend.  I needed someone I could lean on, have fun with, get out of the house with.  A few months back, I won tickets to a Girls Night Out event through a local radio station.  Who was I going to bring?  I didn’t have a “girl,” unless you counted my daughter, and I was not taking her with.  I reached out to the wife of one of my husband’s coworkers/friends, we’ll call her J-mazing.  We had hung out a few times, usually in the context of our husbands ditching us while they go outside to talk about smoking chicken.  (They’re chefs, not confused stoners.)  She was always very nice and I enjoyed hanging out with her.  But we had never really spent much time together.

Anyway, I sent her a message and asked if she’d like to go with me on the Girls Night thing.  It was free dinner and a show, why not?  She joined me and we had a pleasant evening.  We talked about her little girl (who is only a few months older than my Budgie), and life in general.

Shortly thereafter, I went to a Pure Romance party she hosted.  That’s where I met the rest of the tribe.  I met some incredible, hilarious, raunchy, amazing women.  J-mazing has been friends with these women for years, and I’m so glad she introduced me to them.  I had a few of them to my place for my own Pure Romance Party (where we had a killer Mimosa Bar!)  We became Facebook friends and, honestly, I didn’t expect much from it.  I didn’t share the history these women shared, I didn’t know the inside jokes.

But after some time, I got to know these women.  One of them loves Hanson, another has an adorable little boy.  They post memes, the encourage each other… and they encourage me.

Then J-mazing invited me to join them for their summer Girls Day at the Beach.  So glad.

Green tongues are a laugh waiting to happen with a good mom tribeIt was so relaxing to just be myself with these great women.  We could just talk, share, laugh.  To eat a green apple snow cone and goof around with a green tongue.  No one was judging anyone.  Everyone got along.  It was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time.

But that day didn’t happen overnight.  I wasn’t besties with these women after one party.  Like all things worth having, it took effort.  It took time.  But we’re getting there.

It really was a day at the beach.

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