by Katherine Craddock
One, two, three babies in five years. Sleepless nights, endless diaper changes, potty training, tantrums. Red nail polish art on my carpets, hand prints on my walls. Nursing, weaning, formula, bottles. New friends, new hobbies, new topics of conversation. A new world to me.
There was so much to learn, and my friends at MOPS were there beside me all the way. And then, at long last – after a half-decade of faithful MOPS attendance – my first little one said goodbye to her MOPPETS class. Some of my mom friends “graduated” MOPS as well. I really felt that, somehow, I had graduated with them.
But with two little boys still at home, I signed up again for MOPS that fall. “For the kids,” I determined.
Bouncy with energy after a full night’s sleep, I packed my kindergartener’s school lunch and hustled her out the door. My two younger sons played boisterously by themselves, so I had time to check email, wash the dishes, take a luxurious shower, do my hair, apply make-up and pick out the perfect outfit to wear to the first MOPS meeting of the fall – all things I never could have gotten done just one year earlier.
“I don’t know why I’m even going,” I huffed to myself. “I’ve been doing MOPS for six years, my daughter is in elementary school, I don’t have a baby, and I already know everything I need to know about being a mom of preschoolers. I don’t need MOPS anymore. I’m a BIG GIRL now.” I slid my foot into my high heeled boot.
CRUNCH! My toes recoiled at the sharp metal of a tiny toy train that had been carefully deposited in my boot by my two-year-old. Ah, I chuckled to myself. Perhaps I do need MOPS after all!
Fast forward two more years and add a new baby snuggled in my arms. I find that even after four babies and seven and a half years of being a MOPS mom, it will be many more years until I am “too old” for MOPS. Because no matter how many elementary school lunches I pack or big girl shoes I attempt put on – I’m still a mom of preschoolers. And as long as I hold that title, I will always need other moms beside me to support, encourage, and laugh with me along the way.
Katherine Craddock is a writer, pastor’s wife, and mother of two MOPPETS graduates and two current MOPPETS. The film For the Glory, based on her screenplay, will be released in 2012. She lives in Chantilly, Virginia and is part of The King’s Chapel MOPS.