I took a group of high school students to Frequency (a high school youth conference) at Indiana Wesleyan University last weekend. Because Baby Maria and I are still inseparable, she came along. I am used to taking babies to major youth events. Karis went to SetApart (a Wesleyan Youth Convention in Florida) when she was four months old. Josiah went to an Xtreme Winter Conference in Gatlinburg when he was five weeks old. And Maria is getting her opportunities to travel with the youth as well.
Needless to say, there are numerous “mommy” challenges when traveling with a baby (maneuvering a stroller through dense crowds, nursing while traveling on a bus with 25 teenagers, etc). With Baby Maria, I have found an easy fix for a lot of the baby difficulties… it is called a Moby Wrap! A Moby Wrap is basically a VERY long piece of fabric that you wrap around your body and then place baby in so you can “wear” your baby. It is great. It eliminated the need for a stroller in crowded places. It gives you two free hands when you are trying to set up for events or services. It allows me to hold my walking toddlers hands when we are in parking lots. I love my Moby. I love my Moby a lot.
However, when I wear Maria in the Moby Wrap, it does look like I have a large growth on my belly that has grown legs. My teenagers are used to this. They see me wearing the Moby all the time. But walking through the hallways and events at Frequency, I realized that not everyone is used to this. The results were some questioning looks and “eureka” moments when someone realized what was on me.
I say all that to reflect on something that I have realized about myself over the years. I am comfortable with that is familiar to me. For instance, the youth are comfortable with Maria, Karis, and Josiah (my three adorable children) running all over the youth room and climbing all over them because that is the way things are in our youth room. But my kids being a part of my ministry was not something everyone was instantly comfortable with. There was a time of transition and learning that took place before the youth (and adults) I work with became comfortable with me as both the youth pastor and the mommy (much less the nursing mommy). And the same is true for me. I had to learn to be comfortable with myself in those combined roles. But with time, consistency, and the grace of God, we are all one big happy family! AND there are lots of teenagers to change diapers on the road trips!