So as our MOPS (Mother's of Preschoolers) year comes to a close, I have the opportunity to think about my last two years as a member of this organization.
I remember being a new mom with a difficult baby. He woke screaming the minute you laid him down, no matter what and would only sleep when held. His nursing sessions lasted for an hour, and then he was hungry an hour later. He screamed when he was put down on the changing table and through the entire diaper change. He was a noisy eater who would not tolerate a blanket or any other cover . Not even the stroller or car seat would soothe my little beast.
So, I spent the better part of the first six months of his life nursing and holding him in solitude. This is hard to imagine, now, as he approaches three years old in September. His sleeping habits couldn't be better. He still eats like a famine is expected to strike tomorrow and is a terribly sensitive soul, but we can now venture out in public.
In those early days, I could not understand how new moms were going to the grocery stores, the malls or to activities like MOPS where the child is left with another caregiver. I could not fathom going out in public or "burdening" someone else with my crying, screaming ball of sensitivity.
A friend suggested I try MOPS to get out of the house and to give me an opportunity to meet other moms who were at home. I couldn't do it. The thought of it stressed me out.
When my son was 9 months old, taking two naps a day and seemed to enjoy interacting with other kids , I took the leap. I looked online for a group in my area and sent a blind e-mail to the coordinator. She responded inviting me to the next meeting
When I arrived at that first meeting, I received a warm welcome. My son gleefully rummaged through the toys in the nursery and "greeted" the other kids with smiles and giggles. He seemed to enjoy being there, and I was thankful.
Our attendance was hit or miss that first year as we dealt with the usual sniffles and sickness and the inevitable fatigue associated with my second pregnancy. I loved the women in my group I'd gotten to know, but I still felt a bit disconnected.
The second year sped by as I served on our Steering Committee, helping to shape the future of our group by publicizing our activities to our members and beyond. The women that were once merely kind, smiling faces have become dear friends and confidants.
This is no longer just a place I go two Tuesday's a month, but a safe harbor for me amidst the many storms of life at home with two small children.
Next year I will take on the responsibility of co-coordinating our group. As I reflect, it is hard to believe just under two years have passed since my first day. I am fully invested, with a vision for the future and a determination to keep this group alive and growing.
Had you asked me when I joined whether I would ever take a leadership position I would have scoffed. I was so utterly overwhelmed by my own life I could not imagine it. But over the last two years, my world has evolved.
I do not do this or any of my other activities because I had to say "yes" to someone or because I felt like I should. Somewhere along the line I had an idea, which led to another, and another until I couldn't turn it down because it was so much a part of me.
I do these things because as I give of my time and energy, I am simultaneously filled by the wonderful people I serve and serve with. It is truly a serious commitment, and as with all good commitments, I receive much more than I could ever give.
And that, my friends, is what I feel it is to be called.