Her Tribe looks significantly different than it did when she walked through the doors of Troy the first time. It looks completely different than it did 3 months ago. What I have noticed, though, is that some pieces stay the same. They’ve just shifted location, were taking a little break, or just waited patiently in the background until they were needed. Others popped in out of the blue. There are old friends, unexpected new ones, some who floated in and out for whatever reason, and those who stand by her no matter what. This new tribe might be her best tribe. They’re holding her up at a time where her world is about ready to explode with possibility and change and excitement and hesitation and maybe even a little fear. Like two of them told me the other day, “We’ve got her back, Mrs. Kettler!” and “It’s always been my mission to make her laugh.” Of that I have no doubt.
These are the kids who will sing Moana with her and for her. These are the ones who will probably let her punch them in the arm, if she needs to. They’re also the kids who hold her when she’s broken and make her laugh when I don’t think she knows she can. They’re the ones who accept her for who she is, prickly and sarcastic and sometimes a little arrogant and always huge hearted. They understand her and realize that it’s not an easy job. They’re willing to go on fishing adventures with her, even if they haven’t done it yet, to check on her just to make sure she’s okay. They have been with her through her gangly baby giraffe days to her I-didn’t-know-my-daughter-was-so-beautiful-days. They’re willing to watch Disney movie marathons, and sing High School Musical songs, and even listen to her belt out country music.
These are the ones who know when something is wrong without her having to say anything. They’re the ones who put up with her crap and call her out for it. They’re the ones who randomly show up after an absence, and they pick up like they’ve never been away. They’re the ones who let her be her and encourage her to be better.
They’re the ones who offer to fight people for her, even though she can probably hold her own. They pick up pieces of a broken heart, help her figure out who she needs to be, and make her absolutely crazy. They rally around her and make fun of her and tease about her ever-growing list of medical issues. They drink Pinky out just to poke her a little bit and duck as she throws a bottle them.
They love her best. Next to her mama and her daddy and big brothers of course. As our world begins to change and looks so different in the next few months, I couldn’t be more grateful for her weird, eclectic, unexpected, and amazingly beautiful tribe. Thank you for loving my daughter and being her best friends.