Sleepover Eve

February 16, 2007

The snacks and candy have been bought. The beads for the necklaces placed in separate little Gladware cups. The movie chosen. The Pictionary game stands at the ready. The exorbitantly expensive name bracelets (each letter bought separately — and believe me — no one is named “Sue”) sit at the bottom of cellophane bags that are tied with pink and purple ribbons, ready for the girls to assemble. Inexplicably, I also have cotton balls and ping pong balls (for two different games) as well. Soon, the house will be clean and the playroom where the girls will sleep will be vacuumed within an inch of its life. The cherry chip cake will be made later tonight. And yes, of course the cake is from a box — who do you think I am? Martha Stewart?

My daughter’s first sleepover party. I think everyone we invited (6 girls) is actually coming! Slumber parties were such a mixed bag for me. Man, some of the meanest and cruelest crap used to go on. I usually avoided being the victim because I could always stay awake the longest, and I had a (perhaps alarming) tendency to align myself with the right people at the right time. In other words, I manipulated people into thinking that I stood with them in whatever torture — bra in the freezer, hiding someone’s clothes — they chose to inflict. I’m not proud of this.

I look back on these parties and wonder where in the heck the parents were? Drinking martinis in their bedrooms with headphones on? Weird spiritual stuff — Ouija boards and “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board” and seances — happened all the time. But the worst, worst, worst thing that ever happened…it’s so sharp in my memory and yet so unbelievable to me now as an adult. I hesitate to even post about it. But one slumber party — I remember it was at Debbie’s house in about 6th grade…I don’t know whose idea this was, except I know it wasn’t mine. But someone, obviously one of the major power brokers of the class, decided that each girl would strip naked and stand in front of the other girls for 10 seconds. Of course, we were all developing at very different points and there was great interest in who was further along than who. I don’t remember anyone saying anything to anyone. I don’t remember giggling. I just remember the utter and hideous humiliation of the moment. Why did some of us not mutiny and say, “No damn way I’m doing that.” But we didn’t. In turn, each girl stood before the others. And then we went back to school on Monday and never spoke of it again.

Again, I ask — where were the parents?

Maybe it’s why I’ve put so much planning into Abby’s party. I’ve heard people say that girls have slumber parties too early these days, and maybe this is true, but from another viewpoint, I think their younger age may prevent some of the suffering and idiocy I experienced. Part of me can laugh about my experience at that party, but another — I confess, stronger — part of me remembers too clearly the fear and shame.

So truly, I pray for these girls coming over that they have a wonderful time and great memories of the experience. I pray that the party aides my socially introverted daughter to make connections and have fun. I pray that I’m strong enough to sustain a high level of energy for the evening and night. I pray that no one has fear or homesickness, and that everyone (including me!) gets decent sleep. I pray all the girls get along and treat each other kindly.

Think of us Saturday night. I’m thinking that the girls will have a ball.

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3 Responses to “Sleepover Eve”

  1. kjames said

    you’re either: the best mom ever, or totally insane.

  2. bethkoruna said

    I don’t think that these are mutually exclusive categories…:D

  3. kjames said

    you know, you’re right. 😀

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