The "what ifs" rang through my brain, as I boarded my flight to Dallas... "What if I don't connect with the women I'm rooming with? What if I snore..or what if, when I'm sleeping.. I accidently, put my icy feet on my bedmate's legs, like I do at home with my hubby? What if something happens while I'm gone? What if I've heard it all before?"..
The what ifs were quickly followed by the "should I's".. They marched through my mind like a circus parade. "Should I really be spending this kind of money on.. *gasp* myself? Should I really trust my family to fend for themselves for this long? Should I really be going at all?" Finally... the hardest question shot through my mind like a flying human cannon-ball of fear..."Do I really belong here?" I turned up my Ipod to try and drown out the noise in my head.
Finally, The plane landed. I boarded the shuttle and headed to the Gaylord. The shuttle was full of MOPS Vendors and ministry partners and leaders. I met MOPS girls from California and Florida. We talked the whole way to the resort. When I walked into the resort, I saw signs that read... "Welcome, MOPS International Convention" "Hey... that's ME!" I am MOPS!" I thought. I'm sure I looked weird, standing there, grinning at the sign.. but I didn't care. (much) I felt like someone had been preparing for me. Because they had been.
On the way to my room I met 4 or 5 other moms in the elevator. (I could tell they were MOPS Moms... they were carrying MOPS bags (the secret sisterhood of MOPS official emblem-along with possibly baby puke stains somewhere on your ensemble.) I smiled. They smiled back. "Where are you from?" That was all it took, the chatter kept up until I nearly missed my floor.
I crashed in my room and had a few minutes TO MYSELF. (I actually got to go to the bathroom without being interrupted! Not quite spa like.. but for a mom of three? It was a TREAT.) Then, it was time to go to the opening session. Nearly 5000 mothers gathered in the Gaylord.. you could nearly reach out and TOUCH the estrogen. Women smiled.. they called out to each other..they introduced themselves to each other. Then, the lights dimmed.
Huge screens lit up with fireworks. Music roared. In .032 seconds women were on their feet. Together we sang, we worshipped, we listened, we laughed, our hearts touched- we shed a few tears. (A rollercoaster of fun, excitement and information that even my "I don't DO coasters" kind of self, LOVED.)
Somewhere along the line..in all the smiles.. the stories I heard that I could not just relate too- but have LIVED...the "What if's", the "Should I's" And the terrible "Do I belong here?" questions all fell away....The questions about ME were replaced with a sense of "WE".
We are in this together. We are not alone. We can make a difference. WE.
This.. is just the first day.. I can't wait to see what tomorrow holds!
Tracey Solomon- Ministry Advancement Coordinator, Zone 29 Michigan- Live from MOPS International Convention, Dallas, Texas!
Make sure and check back everyday to hear about MOPS International Convention experiences- and check out the MOPS Convention flickr group to see pics and quick videos!