When my oldest daughter turned seven last month, she requested a slumber party.
I’m not sure where the idea originated; she’d never attended a slumber party before. Sure, she’d spent nights at her grandparents’ houses. She and her sister once slept over at a friend’s house. We’ve had company come to stay, which often involves a few extra children sleeping on her bedroom floor. And because my daughter shares a bedroom with three younger sisters, one could argue that every night of her life is a slumber party.
But she wanted a birthday slumber party, with three friends from school. This is a girl who has a vision of her birthday party each year, down to the color scheme; she’s a force when it comes to celebrations.
As it happens, I have a fraught history with slumber parties. After a few innocuous sleepovers, when I was around my daughter’s age I attended what has become known as — in my mind — The Slumber Party From Hell. Not because it was a bad party, but because I behaved badly. I was not prone to bad behavior, but as an only child from a quiet, orderly household, I found slumber parties overly stimulating: More girls than parents! Whoo-hoo! At this particular party, I hoisted a large ceramic ball (a sculptural item belonging to my hostess’s parents) over my head in an attempt to impress my friends, which I inevitably dropped and broke. Then I laughed so hard that I wet my pants.
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