No matter how old I am, Mom can still 'make it all better'. When I was young, Mom was the one I went to when I forgot how to pedal backwards to stop my bike and instead, ran my out-of-control bicycle down the hill straight into a tree, giving myself a concussion. The time we were on vacation in Florida and the heavy hotel door slammed on my foot and I lost my toenail, Mom was the one I wanted. Even at the age of thirty-three, when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, my gut instinct screamed, “I want my mommy”.
What makes Mom so unique in her ability to comfort me? Perhaps, after thirty five years, she just knows me better than anyone. Perhaps I really am 'just like her' as I have heard often in my life. How is it that when things go wrong, I still yearn for her comfort first?
This is my third year in MOPS. I have four children ages one to eight, who I home school. My husband works from home as well so all six of us are here all the time. For the past two weeks, my group has been preparing for an early Holiday Bazaar. We invited vendors to come and sell their goods and donate a percentage back to us as a fund raiser for our group. I decided to make gifts in a jar. The $5 S'Mores Bar mix and scented bath salts sold like hotcakes last year so I thought it would work great again this year. I spent two weeks price shopping (with four kids), purchasing (with four kids), mixing (with four kids), filling (with four kids), decorating (with four kids), tagging (with four kids) and lugging jars to my van (with four kids). I also made items for the bake sale, crocheted bookmarks and made a display board as I'm the Publicity Coordinator for our group. My house was neglected, we ate prepared meals more often than usual and my patience level was lessening each day as I worried over the display board and measured more marshmallows than I ever want to again in my entire life. Finally, the big day was here.
By the time our first customer arrived, the bazaar was beautiful! Christmas tablecloths and decorations abounded, holiday music played in the back, the smell of hot cider hung in the air. Appetizers were warm and the bake sale was filled with goodies you can only dream about. We were ready to make some money for MOPS!
However, I'm sure in no small part to the current economy woes, we didn't have many shoppers that evening. In fact, I didn't sell one single jar. What was I going to do with these jars that I'd put so much money into? A friend told me about another local MOPS bazaar nearby for the following weekend. With a renewed zeal to get the jars sold, I signed up for a booth on Saturday. The booth cost $35 and I sold $27. Eight more dollars in the hole...and the worst part was coming home with all those jars to a house that needed cleaning, kids who needed their mom's attention back and a husband who'd been covering extra for me the last few weeks. Depressed and worried about how to sell the jars, I tried to vent to my husband. Bless his heart, he gave it a great shot but after about twenty minutes, his eyes started to glaze over. I called my coordinator but she was out of town. So I turned to Mom.
“Hey, are you busy?” I asked her on the phone.
“Well...I just walked in the house. Why?” she answered.
“Do you have time for a coffee?”
“Sure,” she said.
After we settled ourselves in the corner donut shop with a couple of coffees, I poured my heart out about my jars. I was beating myself up because I'd taken this risk with my money upfront and it hadn't worked out like I'd expected. Our bazaar hadn't turned out like we expected and I'd wasted my Saturday away digging myself deeper in debt at the second bazaar. Mom listened patiently and added empathy at just the right moments.
“So how many jars did you actually sell?” she asked.
“Only six S'mores, two salts and three bookmarks,” I replied sullenly. “And that was only after I lowered the prices down to two dollars on the salts!”
“But that doesn't equal twenty seven dollars.”
After replaying the day in my head, I realized I'd forgotten about a check someone had written me. When I recalculated, I had actually made four whole dollars for my Saturday efforts! Four dollars wasn't anywhere near what I'd spent making the jars but somehow, I felt better. She got our her checkbook and told me that she needed four jars for Christmas presents herself.
“There. Now you've made twenty-four dollars today!” she said. Seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, our conversation shifted for a few minutes. Then she casually asked me what I was serving for dinner. When I admitted that I hadn't even thought about it yet (and it was already 6pm), she said she had a frozen pizza that I should take home. I tried to refuse but Mom wouldn't let me. So when I dropped her off at home, she ran inside to get the pizza for me and returned with our prior MOPS fund raiser...frozen pizzas that we sold last month. Catching the look in my eyes, she said quickly, “I can't eat pizza anyway – it messes with my stomach. I really only bought it to support your group.”
On my way home, life seemed so much brighter in the dark skies of the evening. I had made twenty-four dollars back already. I had gotten my depressed thoughts off my chest over a good cup of coffee. I had a free dinner with me. And I had a mom who could *still* make it all better.