You see, I have a tribe - online. Definitely. I've made IRL friends from online friends. But picture this: it's Christmas. My three-year-old opens presents on Skype with his grandparents. Then Tim goes to work and since we only had one car, the three-year-old and I are sitting home alone. Sure, we sled for a little while, we drink hot chocolate. And that's Christmas.
Now, picture this: I'm three years old. The youngest person in my family (yes, I'm the youngest member of my generation of the fam), I have a brother, six cousins, two aunts, three uncles. We're at a two-family house in the Bronx, both parts of the house owned by my family (grandpa and his brother). Auntie and Uncle Will have three boys, but none of them had kids yet, so it was just an additional six adults. Grandma has a little stocking hanging on the (fake) fireplace mantel for each of us with foil-wrapped chocolate Santas in them. White Christmas is playing on the TV, but no one is watching it. Jack Gleason is playing on the stereo and all the adults are complaining. The kids are all playing in the cellar (basement). There's more food than we could possibly eat in a lifetime. It's chaos. Insanity. Did I mention that the house is a one-bedroom?
That's missing from my son's life. The chaos of cousins and family and loud, crazy holidays. It's missing from MY life. Losing Tami made me realize how isolated I've been. How alone. I've been in Minnesota five years and made ONE friend. Don't get me wrong - when I make friends, I REALLY make friends. Kelly will be a part of my life forever. Her family is filled with amazing people who accepted my family without question. But my tribe, my people, my comfort zone? It's New York. I don't even know how to explain it, other than to say it's like being wound up ALL THE TIME. All the time. And then suddenly being able to relax. To breathe. To sleep. It's home.