Long time readers of this blog know about my struggle with sleepovers. (I have blogged about it here.) Anyway, over the years my older daughter has hosted sleepovers, but we never took the next step and let her sleep at a friend’s house. She has been invited, and we’ve even come close. Once, she was supposed to sleep over at a dear friend’s house, but it didn’t happen. I think someone got a stomach bug. Then she got invited to sleep at one of my Girl Scout’s homes. The mom is a single mom with two girls. Perfect, I thought. But Big Girl was too nervous to stick it out, so she came home at midnight.
This weekend we were supposed to host my cousin’s daughter for a sleepover. My cousin was my best friend growing up and our girls, who are only three months apart in age just like we are, absolutely love each other. It’s sort of spooky how much their relationship mirrors ours. Anyway, we were all set for them to arrive when the plans got thwarted. My uncle decided he wanted to come for a visit, too, and it just didn’t happen. My daughter was heartbroken. I told her to make some calls and salvage the night, not even thinking about a sleepover. Just call and see if anyone wants to hang out, I told her.
She called one of her good friends who just happens to live around the corner — literally. The mom answered and told my daughter that a few other girls were already there, but she should come around. Her earlier disappointment forgotten, she headed over to my neighbor’s house. My husband and I went out to a comedy club.
Around 11:15, the mom texted me and asked if my daughter could stay over. I struggled with it internally for a few minutes, but realized that I need to trust in humanity so that my daughter could learn to do the same. She had her iTouch with her so I texted her directly and asked her if she wanted to sleep over. Her reply: “Yeah, I guess.”
After the comedy show we went home and I sent my husband around with her sleeping bag and toiletries. I didn’t want her to see me and feel the anxiety dripping off of me. (Besides the fact that I had a head cold and all I wanted to do was go to sleep.)
I wish I could say it was a completely uneventful sleepover, but it wasn’t. My daughter was really nervous, texting us for the next few hours:
“I don’t know if I can stay.”
My reply was that it sounded like a fun night. I asked her why she was upset and told her I trusted and loved her and trusted my neighbor. She replied:
“One moment when we are up talking I am fine, but then when we are lying in the dark my stomach hurts and I am sad.”
I asked if she was okay and if she was letting everyone see she was upset. She said:
“I just kinda miss you. Everyone else is fine, so I don’t want to make a scene, but I am just sad and I don’t know why.”
I told her the following: “Look inside yourself and see how strong you are and how nice it was to be included by these kids who really like you.”
Her reply: “Okay, I love you so much and Daddy, too.”
I fell asleep soon after, but she texted with my husband a bunch more times. In the end she was able to stay over the entire night and had a wonderful time. I was so proud of her — and of myself. That doesn’t mean I won’t be nervous the next time she asks to do a sleepover, but with one down I can see a summer of fun for my daughter. And that’s a good thing, right?