Saturday night Mark & I attended the Lighthouse Couples Dinner. Out of 200+ families in our homeschool group, only 10 signed up for this dinner, and 8 actually made it. Pretty small turnout, and all but two of the couples are part of the group's leadership. But we had a blast! We met at a church, and had a Southern -theme buffet, with each of us bringing part of the meal. I brought sausage gravy & biscuits, and banana pudding. There was pulled pork, chicken stew, fried chicken, corn pudding, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, pecan pie, molasses stack cake, chocolate cake, and boiled peanuts.
Everything was delicious - not bad for a group of mostly northern and left-coast transplants! My friend, Jennifer, decorated the tables with an Autumn theme -wishful thinking with the outside temps still in the 90's. After dinner, she had each couple pick an index card out of a stack in her hand. Each card had a different question written on it, and we went around the room, and each person had to answer the question that they or their spouse had picked. A couple of questions were serious or sentimental. But others led to some pretty hilarious stories. A wife was compared to Balaam's donkey. A husband has fantasies about joining a militia. A couple once went 4-wheeling all dressed up to go out to dinner, and ended up getting their car stuck hanging over the edge of a sandpit. We were all laughing so hard we were practically crying. Even though the group was small, it was a great night of fellowship and just plain fun. For me, it was therapeutic. I realized that I don't laugh like that enough.
While planning for this Couples Dinner, which has been a tradition for the past couple of years, the Lighthouse leaders started talking about the single parents in our group. A few recent conversations as well as a series of posts on Spice-line, the local homeschool yahoogroup, had highlighted the fact that single parent homeschoolers often feel left out of support group and church activities. So in a couple of weeks we are having a Breakfast especially for single parent homeschoolers or those whose spouses are deployed or who travel frequently. The purpose is to
#1 - make them feel welcome in the group,
#2 - help them to connect with each other so they can share experiences, and
#3- share with the Lighthouse leadership any special needs they have.
We have wondered if there is a need for free or reduced membership fees, for help with carpooling or child care for working moms who would like their kids to be able to participate in actiivities. But we are really only guessing until we can talk in person. We identified at least 9 families we know of, and a couple more with traveling spouses have contacted us. They all seem very excited about the idea, so I think we have hit upon something.
I'll let you know how it went.