Sunday, February 06, 2005

Tribe Day

Last Friday, a group of women and kids descended upon the Shea-Zaragoza home for a tribe day.

"A tribe day,"you ask, "whatever could that be?"

In other circles it would be called a work party, a barn raising, a quilting bee... it's a community building event that not only fosters comraderie but gets an onerous task done. The amazing playgroup/babysitting co-op/support system/ info source/ work tribe that I'm in is where it all happens.

First, let me catch you up to speed on the amazing playgroup, etc thing. About 2 years ago a couple of moms from a local La Leche League group wanted to do more things together, activities that would promote helping each other while we raised our kids in a loving environment. Their first get togethers had the kids play while everyone brought an ingredient for a huge meal. Then at the end of the playdate, your kids were tired (read: nap-ready) and you had a meal for the familia.

Then we got into full on playdates at parks and homes that revolved around a concept. We spent last summer on colors, then shapes and now we're on a quasi-international theme.

Along the way, we looked into forming a babysitting co-op and now have these cool little "dollars" that we trade for babysitting services.

8 of us are into forming an investment club that would meet our needs: we can bring the kids to our meetings, we only have to put in $20/month to make it accessible to everyone, and we only invest in companies that are socially responsible, make quality products and are things that we use and believe in.

OK, so now you're up to speed on the group, so let's go back to the Tribe Day at Casa Shea-Zaragoza.

Erin is 30 years old and fertile as all get out. She's got 3 kids under the age of 5 and I am always amazed at her ability to remain calm and mellow with everyone. She asked us if we'd come over and do grunt work around her house, stuff that anyone with 3 kids has trouble getting done: clean the mini-blinds, scrub the walls, clean in/behind/under the fridge, scrub floorboards, de-grunge the shower, etc. These are things that none of us would do in our own houses, but somehow it's much more gratifying to do at someone else's home!

We all brought food to share. Someone was always on kid duty, although we had a good eye on them. Soon the toddlers grabbed cleaning rags and were squirting water on walls and cleaning in their own special way (grin!), spilling food to give us even more to clean...

The beauty of Tribe Day was that with all of us working, it only took about 90 minutes to get everything done. We then spent the next 2 hours talking and hanging out while the kids played SO NICELY. We all just sat around drunk on this feeling of helping each other out, getting a lot done in little time and of course, visiting with one another.

I'm thinking of what I want done at my house when I ask for a Tribe Day. Clean out my garage? Organize the livingroom? Put up shelves? Or just let me take a nap and come home to a surprise. Any way it works for me.

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