Last Sunday evening we went to a pot luck at a nearby church. The gathering was hosted by members of that church who sponsor a Syrian refugee family. They invited the moms group my wife belongs to, because it, too, sponsors a Syrian refugee family: the daughter, son in-law, and granddaughter of the family sponsored by the church. Church, moms group, and sponsored families all assembled over casserole dishes.
One moment from the evening stood out. With toddlers scampering up and down the chancel steps in the church’s social hall, Syrian and American dads sat on the chancel and watched. Not much could be said, owing to language, but also owing to the recklessness of two year-olds in a perpetual state of near collision. Sure enough, one of the toddlers got too close to a standing floor banner and it started to topple over. In a flash, three dads sprung from their seats and caught it. The toddler was never the wiser. Still unable to converse, the dads shared knowing looks of relief and then sat back down.
This transpired while the women sat talking with one another, free mostly of the accident-prone little ones, making plans for tutoring, sharing medical advice–all through the translator who had come as well as with Google translate in their phones.
The moment was an illustration of the power in this nascent community in which the movement and progress is being driven by mothers whose partners stand mostly at the edges, wiping noses and catching falling objects.
I like it.