I went to a friend's political fundraiser and was introduced to Jolene Ivey (she's on the left in the picture; the one on the right is another busy PTA mom). "Hey, I know who she is! She's one of the Founders of Mocha Moms!" So for anyone who is not a Mocha Mom, maybe you don't get it, and maybe some of you who are, you still don't get it. But when I joined the organization, it was still small, mainly in the Maryland area, a new support network for stay-at-home mothers of color. Now, its a national organization, with chapters across the country, various special interest groups, and with policy statements and a grand network to improve the lives of children and support mothers. I asked Jolene last night did they ever imagine it would grow into what it is now. She said they did, they were just surprised that it actually worked.
I'm glad it worked. Most - all? - of my mom-friends I have are from my connection to Mocha Moms, and I can't even count the number of moms over the years who have asked me about connecting to a chapter, in my area, as well as in other states. We maintained and grew our chapter as our children grew from infants and toddlers to school-age kids. In fact, we have our first Mocha kid college graduate this year. Its been a wonderful collection of families and we've become more than just a bunch of moms and kids getting together to play. We've celebrated birthdays - ours and our kids - and milestones; we've become emotional support during sickness, loss, and deployment; we've cheered on each other's successes professionally and personally; we've watched each others kids and carpooled through our hectic schedules. We used to plan activities for the summer, what we affectionately dubbed "Camp Mocha Moms". We no longer meet for play-group as in the early days, but continue to regularly meet for coffee, discovering new hobbies such as scrapbooking, crochet, and knitting project, and, having lost count of the books we've read, we still meet for bookclub. This week, we will meet for our end of school breakfast - our last chance to chit-chat child-free for a few months.
Motherhood can be hard, and sometimes it can be lonely and you feel like you don't know what to do next. I can't imagine having made this journey without my Mocha Mom friends. I'm thankful that all those years ago Jolene and her friends thought not only to gather themselves, but came up with a vision to gather other mothers, too. It speaks to how each of us has the potential to set off a small spark that will grow into a beautiful fire that will light up so many lives. What a wonderful surprise.