Sunday, June 20, 2010

Single Parents Celebrate Father's Day With an Annual Picnic

When Scotty was younger, I was very active in a Non-Profit organization called Parents Without Partners (PWP). I'm not crazy about the name "Parents Without Partners." I remember the conversation I had with Scotty when we joined:

Me: Let's go to this Picnic put on by this group called Parents Without Partners.
Scotty: That sounds like a group for sad people.

He was right! The name did sound kind of pathetic. Unfortunately, since it's an international organization, that's the name the group is stuck with, though I know in the Denver Area Meetup group, it's called "Dynamic Single Parents" which I think sounds much more upbeat.

Well we did join and I'm so glad. I met loads of new friends, including my friend, Craig Dunham, who I blogged about yesterday. My favorite events put on by PWP are the annual Mother's Day and Father's Day picnics.

In single-parent households, we don't have spouses helping kids make our day special. Often mothers and fathers are left with making their own celebrations. And there can be a lot of emotion tied up on holidays when you're single. You kind of want your special day and don't want to have to be the one doing all the work to get it.

What happens with the PWP Picnics, is that the fathers in the group are responsible for planning a great big family picnic and spoiling all the mothers on Mother's Day. The men go all out with their skills on the grill -- more than the typical BBQ-fare. The men are encouraged to be creative with their cooking and there are plenty of home-made salads, side dishes and desserts. And on top of that, each mother is presented with a rose, flowers, or some sort of treat. There are plenty of activities and games for kids, who range from babies to full-grown adults.

The fathers know it's in their best interest to do this, because Father's Day comes a month later and the women, feeling all spoiled by chocolate-covered strawberries and flowers, are ready to see if they can out-do the men. Today was the day, and as usual, the picnic tables were loaded up with a feast fit for the PWP kings.

A result of this ritual, is that friendships form, and the group of single parents becomes a little community -- a group of friends that support one another. One tough thing about being single is that we often miss out on the fun of surprising a spouse with a fun treat. Most of us love the opportunity both to be the center of attention and to treat someone else special when it's their turn. Having a support community like PWP helps people find friends both for themselves and their kids. So even though I'm not an active member of PWP anymore, I was very happy to attend both Mother's Day and Father's Day picnics this year. Here's some footage I got from today's event at EB Rains Park :


BK said...

Thank you for dropping by and sharing some of your simple moments.

I thought the PWP's picnic idea was fantastic! The single parents get support in a community and at the same time they have someone else to celebrate the special day for them.

I do agree about the name part; the first impression which came to me is it is a little sad.

Hamilton Bean said...

You captured the sentiment perfectly. It's odd to make a plug for divorce, but yesterday was truly the best Father's Day I've ever had. I was spoiled by my PWP friends, and I was able to spend a fun time with my son and the special people in our lives. PWP has helped me in so many ways. I was unaware of the universe of post-divorce people out there, so I was amazed to find so many fun, successful, and loving folks just trying to make their lives work well as single parents. Yes, sometimes it is "sad," and I've engaged in a few "divorce sucks" tirades with my fellow PWP friends in the past. But if you fall in with the right folks, they will help hold you up a bit as you find your new (post-divorce) legs.

rebecca @ altared spaces said...

PWP is where my mother and step-father met. They had a marriage that lasted more than 2 decades and they were still holding hands when my step-father gently walked my mother through that gate into heaven.