For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.
My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 9 weeks. Shortly thereafter I found myself pregnant again. My husband and I were the first of our close friends and coworkers to have a baby. We attended our campus parish where we really liked the priests but did not know many of the parishioners. Our favorite priest invited me to join the parish’s moms’ group. I felt a little out of place. I wasn’t REALLY a mom yet after all (in my mind). I longed to hold a baby in my arms. The group was simple. We met monthly for a mass directed just at moms and then had a potluck dinner. The parish was able to provide childcare for anyone who needed it as well.
A few years later, with my two-year old and newborn we moved closer to our parents. We joined a parish close to our new home. I only knew one other family but found myself wondering how other moms got to know each other better. I took my children to story hours and gymnastics and music classes, but somehow I was missing that connection with other moms, and it was lonely. In the meantime, our small crying room at church was overflowing with young families, and I had not seen any mention of a moms’ group at the parish. So I did something way out of my comfort zone. I called our new pastor and made an appointment and asked him about starting a moms’ group at our parish. I was thinking it would be the same as our old parish with a mass and dinner once a month. Our pastor said he had one other mom ask about starting a moms’ group also, gave me her number, and suggested a starting point of a cookout for moms of the parish. He asked if I would facilitate the group. I had not ever done something like that before, but how could I say no?
That first summer, I sat at the park watching the kids play and talking with another mom who had become a close friend. Her son was about to enter kindergarten with my oldest. She said her mom had a group of friends that had found each other when their children were young. She said they were able to support each other from the nursery to the cemetery, from the birth of children to the death of husbands. She remarked that she hoped to find that same type of friendship in our group.
Our group is not what I envisioned that summer morning I met with Father. Leaving my comfort zone has put different opportunities in front of us than I had ever imagined. Isn’t that how God’s timing and plan always is?!?
We have book discussions, bible studies (reading and discussing Sunday’s gospels), park playdates. We meet at Eucharistic Adoration to help give each other a chance to spend quiet time with the Blessed Sacrament. We have had Moms’ Nights Outs and Ins. We’ve hosted bake sales and fundraisers and adopted families at Christmas time. We have started having children’s masses. We have had couples’ masses and potluck dinners. We are going to start meeting to pray the Rosary in the park.
Completely different activities than what I thought we would have, and the dynamic has changed many times throughout the years as the needs of those attending have changed. The one thing that has been constant has been the support of each other. Whether we meet once a week or once a month or briefly catch up on the sidelines of a soccer or softball game or while waiting to pick up our children from school, we know we have a group of women, other moms, out there and around us, supporting us, praying for and with us. I’m sure our group will continue to evolve as we journey down this road of motherhood. We just need to continue to keep our hearts open to God’s plan for our group, each of us individually and as a whole group.
As for my friend’s heartfelt need that summer morning in the park? I think we have found a group of women to lean on throughout life’s ups and downs, supporting each other through children’s illnesses, family crises, deaths of parents, and the joys of new births, new beginnings of new homes, jobs, and schools. I pray we will continue to be there for each other as we continue this journey of life.
Thank You, dear Lord, for the gift of friendship. Thank You for giving us people to walk with on our journey to You. Help us to help each other to stay on the path You have set for each one of us. I ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.