We first came together on a church committee 31 years ago, a group of young moms staffing the nursery during Sunday morning services. The committee met monthly to divvy up jobs, write a newsletter, discuss ideas and inspire each other to be good wives and mothers. Our nursing babies attended the committee meetings, too, most of whom are now grown with babies of their own.
But following an agenda was not all that happened at our meetings. Friendships were formed, and chit-chat included laughter and sometimes tears as we shared parenting struggles along with dessert. Years passed, and most of us left nursery duty to serve in other ways, but we still wanted to get together. That’s when our Club was officially formed. We were in our forties, zooming toward our fifties, and decided to name our group The Menopausal Mamas, or The M&M’s.
Anyone could join us, but they had to meet one of three requirements: 1) be over forty, 2) be in menopause, or 3) have a teenager. All three of those categories needed strong doses of female support, and on that basis, we came together.
In the beginning years we each brought hand work to Club, needlepoint, photo albums, art projects, mending. One balanced her check book. Another graded school papers. I used to do my ironing. As we worked, we talked. If someone arrived at Club in a quandary over something, she could count on the rest of us to prop her up with understanding and acceptance. Before long, she’d be laughing.
The M&M’s have come together to make banquet centerpieces, plan bridal showers and celebrate milestone birthdays. We’ve also spent time praying in one accord when problems needed more than discussion. Most of all we’ve gathered just to spend time together, enjoying the luxury of being ourselves in the company of long-term friends.
Nine of us became the “old faithful,” and together we’ve been through thick and thin. In our early meetings, we joked we’d be the ones to plan luncheons after each others’ funerals. The first lunch of this kind has now occurred when The M&M’s laid out a lavish buffet after Nate’s funeral. I’ll never forget the strength and steadiness with which they made that difficult day go as well as possible for me and our family.
My mom belonged to her own Club when I was growing up. They met monthly and started their group during World War I. They called themselves Purl Harder, since many of them were knitting (and purling) for service men after the attack on Pearl Harbor. I remember lying in bed listening to these women talk and laugh until the wee hours of the morning, wondering what in the world could be so entertaining to a bunch of old ladies. Now I know it’s simply a healthy way to release the pressure of being wives and mothers. Our kids have listened to the same kind of animated conversation from their beds during meetings of The M&M’s.
Women love to be with other women. When I used to tell Nate, “I have Club tonight…” he could have responded with, “What, again?” or in some other way discouraged me from going. After all, I was leaving him with homework time, bath time and bedtime on a work day. Instead he’d say, “Go ahead and go. It’s cheaper than a psychiatrist.”
On that score, he was right. When one of us has a problem, we bring it to Club where it can be talked through and solved. We share photos of weddings and grandchildren, marveling at the cycles of life. Although it gets more and more difficult to bring everyone together, we continue to meet.
Mom’s Club members have their get-togethers in heaven now, all but one, and she’s anxious to join them. In time, the M&M’s will go the same route. But for now, we’ll continue where we are, loving, laughing, celebrating and consuming fabulous desserts!
“Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way. Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong. Do not fear; your God will come’.” (Isaiah 35:3-4a)