Tribe Weekend

Group Shot

Near-Drowning Tribe 2011. The fiercest, most tender women you could ever hope to meet.

Tribe Weekend 2011, otherwise known as 2nd Annual Near-Drowning Mom’s retreat, surpassed even the expectations built from last year’s incredible experience.  We had 10 “alumni” moms, and added 5 more this year.  We also added a couple of new states – Wisconsin and Michigan.

I feel fortunate to have a “tribe sister” in my own state (actually, practically in my neighborhood.)  On the way home Kehau and I  talked about the dynamics of our group, and both found it interesting that in almost any other social group of women you are all either at a similar place in life, have similar personalities, or many friends in common.

There is only one brutal thing linking the Tribe together.

As individuals we are so different – running the gamut from outgoing and loud  (some would say obnoxious at times:), to thoughtful and reserved.  We range in age from 24 to late 40s, and from being the mom of one to the mom of seven.  And yet, we fit together so perfectly, and can enjoy each others differences so honestly that the ending of the weekend brings a surge of despair.

It’s as if you have found the most perfect, comfortable pair of jeans. They just fit.  You get to live in them for a weekend, and then they must go back on the shelf for another year.

No one would ever, ever choose to join our tribe.  The initiation is hellish, the responsibilities of membership profound.

Our children, through their grit, determination and resilient commitment to life have chosen us for this journey, for this sisterhood.  We try daily to honor their courage and support their spirits…and I think, in return, we have been given each other, as companions, cheerleaders, and silent, knowing witnesses.

I am so incredibly blessed to be part of this Tribe.

Trio of friends

My long-time companions on this journey: Teresa Jewkes, Sue Searles, Annie Pettigrew


Leavenworth color

A beautiful time of year to visit the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth.

Black Diamond Room

Sunday Lunch at Swiftwater Cellars Winery


Sue and Tiff

Sue Searles and I at the winery. Her son, Luke, drowned three months after Abbie, and we have been friends since shortly after that. An incredible woman!


Annie and Tiff

Annie's daughter, Isabelle, drowned 13 days after Abbie. We are the only two tribe members whose miracle children are daughters. Words cannot express how tightly our hearts are bound, but I am so thankful to have Annie in my life.


Annie and Tiff boots

I cherish this photo becuase it captures so well Annie and I walking through this adventure together.

Crazy Pic

Our real personalities emerge....this is a pretty accurate represention of the weekend. Not a lot of sleep, nor peace and quiet. A WHOLE lot of laughter and fun!

Fall color

Autumn unfurling her colors was a special treat. One of the very few downsides of living in Hawaii is missing this spectacular show.