Their tribe is chipped blue nail polish and the sounds of boyhood warfare, of Elsa chasing in the game, swirling past the playground with wig gone and buzz cut showing.
Of lips pursed for lip gloss, blush brushes swept across faces in appreciative imitation.
I worked hard on my mom tribe, and as it grew I found they were all like me. The ones who did tea parties with their sons, put fairy wings on their shoulders and dusted eyeshadow on their eyes.
All of our sons are in varying stages of growing out wanting their own purse or letting pink be just a color rather than the preferred choice for girls. They carry guns and insert fart noises in everyday conversation.
They have mostly grown out of wanting peach blush on their cheeks, but for us, imitation was more than just following daddy’s steps.
We understood that in their point of their lives that they were copying what they saw, and knowing that influenced many choices for us.
For a friend and I, our sons cheered us on in school, seeing that anytime is a good time to learn something new. They saw us as equal to daddy as our spouses stood up for our choices, reactions, and demands as equals.
It has been important for me to raise my sons as my child rather than just my sons. We talk about how girls are just as tough as boys, that pink and purple are really just colors, and that they can do anything they want.
I’m blessed with a husband, as are most of them, that will tuck in their baby dolls in with them at bedtime, compliment their toes, and pour the tea. And wipe the tears as they fall instead of plug them up.
My eldest has successfully negotiated his first couple of years of school and his herd is diverse – but the mothers I’ve connected with most there, as well as the few short years of his life all have my same goals.
They are strong and fierce. They are loyal and loving. They are confident and empathetic.
His tribe is mine, yet my tribe is the binder.