By Lisa Huddleston
Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and yesterday also happened to be Chuck’s and my turn to serve as greeters in our church’s early service. We arrived at 8:10 ready to go on an unusually chilly May morning. The only problem was my constitution wasn’t quite ready. My stiff and anxious face struggled with appropriately welcoming smiles and “Happy Mother’s Day” greetings and even too-close-for-my-comfort hugs from the touchier types. My teeth literally ached from pushing the lower ones against the uppers. My eyebrows were glued to my hairline and there were at least two annoying twitching places around my eyes and mouth. I’m sure I looked like a tightly wound spring about to unravel; but I held my place, my bulletins, and my smile, and no one seemed any wiser. Despite the stress, I was genuinely glad to serve and to have a place to call my own. Honest.
After the service, Chuck and I gathered the stray Bibles and empty coffee cups from under the seats which we then straightened to make ready for the next service. Inwardly I struggled to collect my emotional clutter and to prepare for the gathering that would take place at 12:30. Mother’s Day commercials usually show a couple of little children carrying breakfast to their mom who is gracious and beautiful although she just woke up and is now eating dry toast with grapefruit juice. Never do I see the size of the gatherings our group usually plans. But we are blessed with the motherload of mothers!
To begin with, I have two sweet women I claim as my own–Grammy Sue and Mama Fay. Then, I myself am a mother. And my newly married daughter, Sarah, has happily added a sweet mother-in-law, Nancy, and grandmother-in-law, Vicki, to our group. And, of course, Chuck’s brother and his wife (another mother) have just moved home so Mama Fay made sure to include them–my sisters (two more moms) had small gatherings at home and will celebrate with Grammy this week. Needless to say, by the time we met, our party consisted of 15, and we were seated at two round tables to enjoy the buffet at the Mill.
But two rounds does not allow for us all to sit together. And I anxiously juggled the families to try to accomodate everyone’s needs. The three grandmothers enjoy visiting so they were seated side by side. And, of course, the single grandfather sat alongside his wife. That left four empty chairs at that table. There were four cousins present so we put them together at the other round where two of them were already seated. John joined Sarah there and John’s parents completed that group. Leaving room for Bart, Ally, Chuck and me at the table with the grands. As good as I could do–but I worried the whole time about making someone or another feel left out in some way.
Teeth aching and face twitching, I stiffly made my way to the buffet and back to my seat. I enjoyed my meal although some said it was too cold, and it took too long to get their drinks, and I worried that was my fault. (It wasn’t. I know.) I was just glad to have found everyone a seat. And isn’t that the main thing? Whether the table holds four or 24, or even if you need to resort to lap trays and sitting on the stairs, the important thing is to know you have a place and that you are wanted.
I’m thankful for yesterday’s celebration. I think the motherload was blessed. I know I was–in spite of myself. And I thank God that everyone had a place–even me. Honest.