This morning as I was toasting the waffles (don't judge me, at least we use genuine maple syrup), I spotted a mug sitting on the counter, with my name written in green and a row of uneven tulips drawn along the bottom. My heart swelled with emotion and memories.
No the mug wasn't a Mother's Day gift decorated by little hands. It is a MOPS craft project drawn by my own thoroughly inartistic hands. I was transported in that moment to the day last September when we made them, the first day of the year and the first day Miss M attended "on the outside".
We made those mugs to use throughout the year for our coffee or tea or juice or whatever and it also acted as a "name tag" and it was "green" too. (Fewer paper cups hitting the trash.)
Seeing that mug reminded me of how loved I felt on that day. How excitedly people greeted us and oohed over her cute dress and tights, a gift from a sorority sister. You see, these MOPS ladies were excited about our newest blessing, even though she was "gasp" our sixth child. We were excited and felt very blessed, but not everyone shared our joy and it hurt. The MOPS ladies, they just loved us. Period.
On the last day of MOPS we go around the room and share, "What MOPS means to me". It tends to be emotional. We use tissues and not just because it's allergy season, people. This year I swore I wouldn't cry.
As I sat there holding the heart in my hand and looking around the tables, I saw the faces of people who hold a very dear place in my heart. They were my "family" here where I have none. These are the people that say, "Let me help you," and mean it. These women are strong and we can all lay our stuff out there and bear it together. These are women I pray with, cry with and laugh until I cry with. (We laugh A LOT.)
So I did get teary as I tried to convey my love and appreciation for them. We were not saying goodbye at that meeting even though some have graduated. Instead we were sharing our love and appreciation for each other and our group, for our growth and the ability to be real even when "real" is really messy.
Thank you, Lord, for MOPS International, for the women who began the group I am in and the women I am blessed to serve and share this motherhood journey with.
You want to see the hands and feet of God? Come to a MOPS meeting.