Today was our first MOPS meeting of the year. Everyone in leadership was frantically buzzing around, nervous that we'd make the whole thing flop with our ineptitude. Fortunately, that didn't happen. Everything went off without a hitch, and approximately 70 moms were hopefully blessed today.
And I remembered why I wanted to become a small group leader. I wanted to provide a welcome to new moms the way I was welcomed last year. I remember coming in and sitting at a table and wondering if I'd have anything to say to the people around me. Leah, my small group leader last year, gave me a big smile and asked me about myself and my little guy. I left the meeting feeling sure that this would be a great place to come and be refreshed... and so it turned out to be.
I don't have an official small group yet. I just sat at a table today with other moms, and it was my job to try to answer their questions and make them feel welcome. One of the mothers looked a little nervous. She'd mentioned that her baby was crying when she left him. I got to tell her something important that I appreciated hearing last year:
"If you need to go and get him, please don't leave afterward. We want you to come back and bring him with you. This is your time. It's great if you can have a break from your child, but if you can't or don't want to, nobody here cares. You can even nurse here if you want. Several gals in my group did last year."
As I was delivering this little speech, the tears welled up in her eyes. She looked so relieved. I remember that feeling, and I was so glad I could be there to help.
MOPs is a place where you don't have to worry that your screaming child will offend others. They'll smile in understanding, and multiple arms will reach out to relieve you of your burden for a few minutes. You get a chance to just be, in a place where everyone understands what you're going through at home on any given day.
This year was a different start for me than last year's first meeting. I was able to see how far I've come in building relationships. Everywhere I turned, there was someone to chat with. I could easily find a place to work, since I knew how the room was run. The time that I'd spent building a friendship with the mother of five paid off in being handed her sweet 6-month-old while she spoke. And the mom behind me noticed when she spit up on me and wiped me off.
I felt such community today. It's been worth every bit of the time and work and uncertainty that I've put into diving into this new place. It didn't have to pay off, but it has, and I'm grateful.