What an awesome weekend. Yesterday two of my best buddies came to visit. Both are ladies that I first met online but have since gotten to know in person. It is hard for me to describe the bond that I have with them. Although geography prevents us from seeing each other as often as we might like, when we do get together there is an immediate "click" and we just seem to pick up exactly where we left off. On the surface our lives seem very different from one another: one of us lives in a small town, one in the suburbs and one on a farm in the country; the three of us are in somewhat different stages of our lives, with children ranging in age from very young to adult; and a casual conversation about our own youth reveals some very different backgrounds. Yet these differences are far outweighed by the things we have in common: we are all confessional Lutherans (meaning we subscribe to historic Lutheran doctrine and practice); we are all wives and mothers who believe that our primary vocation is caring for our family; and we are all homeschoolers. So in the three areas that most define our lives--our faith, our vocations, and our lifestyle (because homeschooling is not merely an educational choice but an entire lifestyle)--we are very much alike. And in an age in which society is increasingly secular and liberal, we can as a result find ourselves feeling rather isolated and in fact downright alienated from the dominant culture.
So when several years ago I discovered a homeschooling listserv for Lutherans, I felt as though I had stumbled on a ready-made community that understood me in a way that most people don't. That list as a whole has been a great blessing to me in the support and encouragement it has offered. In addition, over the years I have discovered certain individuals on the list with whom I have a great affinity--a bond that goes even beyond the commonalities previously mentioned. I just like these ladies a lot. So when periodically the opportunity presents itself to see them in person, I find myself leaping at the chance because not only do they share my values, but they are some of the smartest, most sensible and fun people I know.
So this weekend I hosted a "Mamapalooza" (our term for moms getting together to enjoy some fellowship and recreation). One of the aforementioned ladies showed up at my house on Saturday morning and after coffee and conversation we went out to lunch and then took my daughter shopping for patterns and fabric (this kind lady has offered to do some sewing for my daughter since modest, pretty dresses are so hard to come by in the stores these days). Later in the day, my other friend showed up, accompanied by her daughter of the same age as mine, and after supper (punctuated by political insights from my very smart husband) the young people disappeared to the lower level to watch a movie and my friends and I enjoyed some talking and wine and talking and chocolate and talking and . . . . Finally at about 1:00 a.m. someone had the good sense to excuse herself for bed, and typical Lutherans that we are, the other two followed suit. Luckily, the Sunday morning plan was to attend late service (starting at 11:15) preceded by Sunday School at 10:15 a.m. So we did manage to get a tolerable amount of sleep (except perhaps for the one of us who stayed awake reading my daughter's copy of Little Women until--what time, Boots?--2:30 a.m.?)
After church it was home for a quick lunch followed by some shopping (our able-bodied and capable offspring were left with clean-up duty). First stop: Kohl's, for a good buy on some jeans. Second stop: Ikea for the member of our group who is working on a kitchen remodeling project. And of course, no trip to Ikea is complete without a stop at their cafe, where we all enjoyed another cup of coffee and a big slab of something chocolate (what was it called, ladies? Chocolate Explosion? Chocolate Surprise? I don't remember.) See, even our taste in desserts is similar.
Finally the weekend came to an end as it was time for each of us to return to our families and primary vocations. We did so joyfully, because although it has come to my attention that there are those who do not approve of moms leaving husbands and children at home to come together for female fellowship, I know without a doubt that the time we spent together sharing and conversing and discussing and analyzing and laughing and worshipping is time that has built up and encouraged us in our individual lives and that as a result we will be even better wives and mothers and teachers and friends. So to Elephant's Child and Boots (and anyone else who wanted to come but didn't get to this time): let's do it again soon!