While we may have only been months apart according to our birth certificates, Jane was light-years older in terms of confidence, motherhood, and general maturity. She already had one child, and her second, a son, was born merely days before my son.
She seemed strong. Even though her son had horrible reflux, and she was spending every night working hard to help his little body overcome, she didn’t seem as weary or emotionally unstable as I felt.
I finally worked up the courage to call and get on the MOPS waitlist. That phone call was a little bit of a cry for help. I was not someone who liked to show weakness, but it was becoming glaringly obvious to my husband that I was NOT okay with this motherhood business. I needed something, but alas MOPS was full. No room for me and Boden yet. I would remain on the list for over a year, but God has perfect timing and sent Jane.
She reached out to me and invited me over to her home. Thank goodness, she was hospitable because there was no way in (the hot place) that I was going to invite ANYONE over to my pigsty.
Her house was tidy but lived in. Maybe not every mother has a Better Homes and Gardens home after all, I thought to myself. We sat and visited for an hour about babies and husbands. She was relaxed; I was awkward and fidgety. I’d never had “mom friends” before. I had always been shy and insecure, but I tried to mask it with my smiles and small talk.
Over the course of the year, she would have me over many more times. Our boys would play. I would fret when mine would get too rough, or too stingy, or too whiny, but she would just shrug it off. Kids are kids after all, and she already knew this.
Slowly but surely we both began to share little bits of our lives. I’d ask her for advice; she would bravely share some of her and her husband’s story. I would tell her about church, and she would tell me about how they were searching for God’s will in big decisions they had to make. When I gave, she always gave a little more, and I grew to admire and respect her so very much. This woman who I never really felt as though I had much in common had become a dear friend and a source of hope as I fumbled my way through those early days of motherhood.
Soon after Boden celebrated his first birthday, she and her family moved several hours away, and I was able to begin attending MOPS. But Jane taught me what it meant to be a brave friend. And while she may have moved away, new friends that came alongside me through MOPS, picking up right where she left off. I’m not sure how my story might be different if not for these dear women. I am forever indebted to their kindness and love, and I will continue to try to pass along the sort of brave friendship they left me.
Will you be the friend someone needs this year? Can we join hearts and try together? Reach out bravely, share yourself boldly, and be the friend that someone else might be praying for.
Jesica Swanson currently serves as Coordinator at Bigfork MOPS. She is mother to Boden & Isley, and wife of Norse. You can find her random thoughts on spiritual life, marriage, motherhood, fun products, and whatever else pops into her head at http://www.atleastwecanlaugh.com.
Photo Credit: Jeremy & Alicia Brown Photography: http://www.jeremyandaliciabrown.com
Post image credit: http://shewearsmanyhats.com/sunshine-desktop-backgrounds/