Friday, September 4, 2009

All About MOPS!

The 2009-2010 MOPS Leadership Team at Canyon Lake Community Church

When my son Cole was born, my best friend told me to find a MOPS group. Mother of Preschoolers? I thought. But my son isn’t in preschool yet! Turns out MOPS is for moms of children from birth to 5 years old and there was a group right in Canyon Lake I could check out.
My mother was not as excited as I was about my first MOPS meeting. She had attended a similar sort of group 20 years ago and all she could remember was a lecture from a minister about modesty and warnings that children should be seen and not heard. Mention of MOPS got an understandable eye-roll from Mom, but I wanted to see for myself.
I remember walking into the gym at Canyon Lake Community Church for my first MOPS meeting. I didn’t know anyone in the room except my son! The room was packed with women milling around a breakfast buffet or sitting at one of the many tables. The air was filled with laughter, the occasional baby’s cry, and the smell of hot coffee. I checked in with a greeter and found my assigned group. My first thought when I saw all the laughing, chattering women at the table was that I was a stranger crashing a party. I held my son a little closer and scanned around for the nearest exit. Then they spotted me and before I knew it, I was being hugged and welcomed and introduced around the table. Within minutes, I was seated and had a plate of breakfast in front of me, some grandmotherly-type at the table was holding my baby, and I was relaxed and smiling. That was 7 years ago.
Since then, we welcomed baby Riley Rose and moved two times, but I stayed with my MOPS group. I look forward to those Tuesday mornings when I can leave my kids in the care of some sweet church ladies, go enjoy some adult conversation, and have a meal during which I don’t have to cut up anyone’s food but my own! I love to sit back and hear guest speakers talk about topics I care about. I absolutely love the craft projects even though I usually spill the paint or burn myself with the hot glue gun. The conversation at the table gets very real and honest when we are all focused on painting a picture frame or threading beads. There is no pressure to make eye contact and we just open up and share.
It’s all about the relationships. I started MOPS feeling isolated with only a handful of friends who had kids and understood how different life is once you’ve had a baby. Now I have a circle of incredibly kind, smart and funny moms to call my own, and I cannot imagine life without these women. When Riley Rose was born, they brought my family dinner every night for two weeks. When my father-in law died, the cards and calls poured in. I always had someone to call when tantrums or potty-training were getting the best of me. Being a mom is hard work, and a support system like MOPS makes all the difference in the world.
I am going to look back on the Mommy Years and smile because of MOPS. I will always remember a group of us donning matching choir robes and entertaining the room with “My God,” from the movie “Sister Act.” The Mom’s Night Out when we spent the evening on a wild scavenger hunt around town will never be forgotten, and the memories of some of our crazier table discussions will always make me laugh. Until MOPS, I never knew that moms could be great caregivers and excellent wives and still be crazy chicks. Lucky for me, this ain’t my mama’s MOPS group!
I am really looking forward to the start of my 7th year in MOPS this month. I will be a table leader this year and our leadership team has planned some fun and exciting events. I am looking forward to that first day of MOPS so I can catch up with friends I haven’t seen all summer, though I am nervous about the song and dance number I got roped into for the morning’s entertainment! Most importantly, I am going to keep an eye out for that new mom holding her baby, nervously surveying the room and trying to decide if she should stay or bolt for the door. I am going to welcome her into the group, get her a cup of coffee, and introduce her to the MOPS experience I wish every mom could have.
MOPS at Canyon Lake Community Church is currently accepting new registration. The group meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month from 9-11:30 am. Please call Sheila Lowe for more information: 301-9642.

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