Posts Tagged ‘sleepovers’

In which I finally caved and said yes.

April 4, 2017

I had A Day with Miss Gracie yesterday. It was one of those golden days that I’m sure I’ll look back on a hundred times later.

It didn’t even start out all that extraordinary. I picked her and M. up from school. I dropped of M. and got Bee-girl from After-Care. The coordinator there loaded us up with cookies and desserts they had leftover from Panera – it pays to be a nice parent, you guys. And while we were driving, I told Gracie about my crazypantsbananatown day, and she told me about all the drama going down at her school. Something about a text-storm at 4 a.m. [good lord – yeah, if that continues, the phone is outta there] and then a bunch of smack being talked about her at school. I listened as baby girl told me all about it, and agreed (mostly) with how poised her responses were. Gracie’s doing fine. I’m parenting fine. All is well. …At least on that front. …For now.

Our evening…meh. It seemed pretty average. Bee had a headache, so she laid down for awhile. Gracie did her normal just-got-home things: played with the dog, changed into comfy clothes, texted all her friends. Told me more about all the drama. In fact, I remember quite a bit of her following me around as I tried to transition out of my day. Earrings were getting shucked, shoes getting put away, hair pulled back. Finally I told her I was changing and just stopped caring if she was in the room. Tell you what – as soon as I unbuttoned my slacks, that girl was gone.

We had a good dinner (shrimp scampi and salmon and garlic button croissants. And pretend we had a veggie) and the girls and I laughed our way through some household chores. And it was Bee who came and hung out with me in my room and watched TV with me; she and I started putting together the Ghostbuster’s Ecto-1 Lego car. But then it was bedtime and Bee went to bed without a fuss (because: headache earlier) and I made Gracie come entertain me while I cleaned the kitchen. So I rinsed dished and loaded the dishwasher and recycled 93284032 cans and wiped the counters and cleaned the sink and checked on my pet ants, all while Gracie told me stories and more about her day. It made me think of when my mom would be cleaning the kitchen and ask me to entertain her. It’s a good way to sneak in some bonding time.

I should have sent her to bed after the kitchen was clean. But the wiseass I raised kept trying to convince me that we should flop down on my (comfy, comfy) bed and talk or watch Bones instead of cleaning. So I told her we could hang out in my room for a bit. She immediately flopped down on the bed and started making herself comfy while I got ready for the next day, picking out outfits and jewelry. Then I got the grand idea of letting Gracie help me to game out my outfit for my date on Friday. She adjusted a few things and I went with her decision, so we’ll see how it plays out. In between all of that, Gracie took alllllll the selfies. I’m sorry, World: there are no selfies left. Gracie took them all last night. Sheesh.

That’s when the begging began. About just staying right there and sleeeeeeeeping. I can count the number of times that child has slept in my bed, and two of them were after times she ended up in the trauma hospital.

I can’t believe I gave in.

I know the girl kicks in her sleep. No one wants to sleep with her on vacation because we know she is a restless sleeper, she snores, she drools, and she kicks. And coughs! I made the girl get up and take some cough medicine. God, I was tired by that point, but she thought it was Christmas morning, getting to sleep on the NASA technology mattress she’s in love with. Lights went off. And then the moving began. Over and then the other way, and shuffle this way, and that arm… It was a nightmare! I put a hand on Gracie’s upper arm. Told her rather firmly to stay still (because the girl was out – dang, she can sleep!) and she stopped.

So I did get some sleep after all. My little girl is growing up so fast, it’s nice to have those moments – or an afternoon of moments – while we can. Even if those mean I have to deal with a bonkers teenager who sleeps like monkeys are jumping on the bed.


Another year bites the dust.

May 13, 2015

Nights I was dreading this years sleepover: All of them since the last one.

Number of girls I had to convince to have a joint birthday party sleepover: 1 (But eventually Bee said she did want one, so it worked out in the end.)

Number of girls they were allowed to invite: 5 each, plus the Redheads who are family and so didn’t count towards the total.

Number of times I cried over the potential of 14 tween girls screaming around the house at midnight: All of them. All of the times.

Number of girls who showed up: All but 3 (one of Bee’s friends who I didn’t know, and two of Gracie’s friends, sisters, who live in the neighborhood but I haven’t met).

Number of RSVPs I actually received: one from everyone who came, surprisingly!

Bags of chips I bought, but forgot to put out: 3.

Number of pizzas we ordered: 5 large

…and were eaten: 4 1/2. We all ate, and then at some point the girls pulled the leftovers out after midnight and ate again. At least they didn’t go to waste?

Number of times I had to remind the girls no drinks in the living room: just a few!

…or food on the new couches: None! Huzzah for 9- and 11-year-olds!

Number of babies I almost stole: 1. Gracie’s best friend’s mom (who I’m friends with) stayed for quite awhile with D’s four-year-old sister and 5-month-old baby brother. And I snuggled with him the entire time. Heh.

Number of cupcakes arranged at different heights on the table: 72.

Number of candles used: 20. And Gracie and Bee got them all in one swipe, no matter how many odd places I stuck them or other trickery I tried to use!

Girls who went home: 1, at 10 p.m., and by design. I told her that I wasn’t comfortable with sleepovers until I was older, and hopefully that made her feel better.

People who were dismayed that we moved the new giant TV into my bedroom for Jeff and I to watch when we escaped the insanity: 2. And they were both mine!

Number of times Bam the Destroyer stole pizza: 4. And the girls all laughed! So all’s good.

Time the grown-ups escaped into the bedroom to get away from all. the. noise.: 10:30 p.m.

Time we went to bed: midnight.

Number of times I had to get up and tell the girls to stop screeching or talk quieter: 3 – and all before 1:30 a.m. So.

Girls who got toothpasted: 2. I told them to stay awake next year and get someone else instead. And reminded them it washed off. (But, kindly! It could have been worse, but yes, it’s still annoying.)

Nights before I have to worry about it all again: roughly 360. And boy is this mama happy about it! Sleepovers are exhausting, even with another grown-up there solely focused on keeping your sanity intact!

Mischief managed.

April 28, 2014

I still feel like I shouldn’t be saying this out loud, but I think we might have survived the sleepover craziness for one more year. Huzzah! And really, I think I might mean it this time: no mas.

Really, I shouldn’t complain. Gracie-girl had a great time. The girls were all relatively well-behaved. There was no in-fighting, no drama, no one ended up in tears, no one asked to go home. It’s just that all twelve girls showed up. All of them! And that’s a lot of shrieking girliness running around your small, open-concept house. There’s no where to hide from that.

The irony there is that the girls spent most of the night playing hide-and-seek. And some other games. Watched movies. Threatened to toothpaste and draw mustaches on the first girl to fall asleep – except they did that right in front of the grown-ups. Silly girls. I threatened right back to draw the words “mean girl” on their foreheads before sending them home to their parents if anyone woke up with marker on them. (I didn’t say anything against toothpaste, but I don’t think anyone picked up on that.)

So it was overwhelming at times, but manageable. Gracie’s best friend (who is a boy) and his family came over for pizza and cake and we watched most of the Pens hockey game, so that was fun and helped distract me from the total chaos screaming around my house. Then when it was time to kick the boys out, we all sat down and watched Frozen. Cute movie – even cuter when you have a dozen girls running around shrieking, but then stop and sing, mesmerized, every time a song came on. At the end of the night, Kim and I escaped to my room to play a couple rounds of Sorry and we smuggled the rest of the key lime pie in there. Four times a kiddo came into the room to ask one question or another. Bee was outraged that we were playing a board game without her, but every time missed the fact that we also had pie sitting on the bed. Heh.

The girls fell asleep before 1 a.m. (or if they didn’t, they at least didn’t keep me up, which, let’s face it, is all that’s important) and managed to stay quiet until 7:30 a.m. Everyone went home before 10 a.m. And there were no spontaneous pillow fights or other shenanigans in the middle of the night that required me to get out of bed to glare at anyone. On the contrary, while most of us were watching Frozen, I was able to really watch Gracie hanging out in a circle of friends, laughing and having a good time without realizing she was being watched. She looked so happy and so in her element. The fact that she has twelve friends who think enough of her to show up and have fun? That’s pretty awesome. I loved getting that peak into her unfolding social life. I like the people she’s chosen to surround herself with, and I love the fact that she used two of her precious invitations on her sisters’ friends so Bee wouldn’t feel left out.

That? Makes it all worth it.

Even if I’m really, really not ever doing the sleepover thing again. Really.

Is it a throwback if it was just last week?

April 3, 2014

Last Thursday, I was bouncing in my seat with impatience to pick up my besties from the airport. And lo, my vacation (and my friends!) finally arrived, and it was good. Better than good – it was incredible. I mean, what can top spending a long weekend with the ladies you’ve been friends with for 30 years? Exactly.

I don’t think from the moment we met at the airport that we stopped talking for five minutes straight. (Good to know that some things never change! Heh.) We had a lot to catch up on! And in between all of the gabbing, we did a bit of eating. We went for a local favorite – Irish Nachos – before touring a local antique mall and going sight-seeing. (For some reason, having JerryWorld Cowboys’ Stadium and the Ranger’s Ballpark so close only hits me when I point them out to people.)


We walked all of downtown Fort Worth, shopping and soaking in some sun, and stopped for some famous Riscky’s Barbeque. Lunch in the sunshine on a patio downtown while gossiping with my favorite people? Yes, please! It did not hurt that the beers Corri and I ordered were possibly the size of a small fishbowl.


We somehow summoned the strength to fit in a few chocolates from the Schakolad Chocolate Factory…
Those would be dark chocolate raspberry ganache, milk chocolate espresso cabernet, and chocolate covered oreo. Then, just a few feet down the street – for we were on vacation, as we kept reminding ourselves, we stopped at The Cupcakery to pick up some desserts for after dinner. Also, because the entire reason Julie came to Texas was to seek out alllll the cupcakes. Heh.

After touring miles of downtown, we headed to a popular outdoor shopping area in Arlington, where we walked some more. Hey, you can’t say we didn’t burn off most of what we shoved into our faces. After a few more miles of shopping and walking, we stopped at Pinkberry’s. Tangerine frozen yogurt with strawberries and kiwis? Yes, please!

That doesn’t include all of the drinking that happened when we collapsed onto our couches or lounged on the patio, basking in the sun (or when The Walking Dead finale drove Julie to drink!). It was fun playing tourist, and even more fun spending quality time with friends who know me almost better than I know myself. The people you can pig out with, cook with, fall asleep in front of, read with, abandon in favor a cat nap, share your sushi rolls with, and spend five days talking to non-stop – those are the people who are really and truly your friends, the people you need to keep in your lives.

It was a fantastic weekend and I am already looking forward to the next one!

I guess I’ll keep ’em.

April 22, 2013

Know what one of my very favorite feelings is? That moment when the birthday sleepover is over and I know I have an entire year before I have to face that particular madness again. MAN, that was crazy, you guys! Nine girls (only one no-show), mostly tweens, all of whom were loud and excited and very, very shrieky. It gave me an all new appreciation for…well, just about everything in my life. Not the least of which was blessed, blessed quiet.

It made me appreciate just how well-behaved my children really are. Compared to one off-the-hook girl at the party, my girlies are quiet as church mice!
It made me appreciate how fortunate my kids are and how much stuff they have – since most of it was all over the floor by the time everyone left.
It made me appreciate how much more mature Gracie has become – she cleaned the entire mess without complaining or whining. What eight nine-year-old does that?
It made me appreciate that we can have things like Nerf blasters and I don’t have to tell my kids not to shoot at peoples eyes or heads or breakable items on the walls or any of the other things I heard myself saying Friday night. Or not to use the slingshot to shoot things at people because it hurts.
It made me realize that my children are older, so much older than they were even last year: not one meltdown on Saturday after not much sleeping.
It made me smile when the new girl in the group announced to everyone, “The two things you need to know about me are that I like to know everyone and I like to have fun.”
It made me appreciate that my girls know who to be friends with.
It made me appreciate that Corrie and John and I are way better parents than we give ourselves credit for.
It made me appreciate how sweet N. is – several times she would run in to the room, give me a big hug, and say, “I LOVE YOU, Miss Katie!”
It made me appreciate how  quiet my own children are in the morning – even if it never seems like they are at the time. Two children whispering is a lot quieter than nine girls laughing and getting their own breakfasts.
It made me appreciate that all of the girls are older and able to get said breakfasts on their own, and that they (mostly) clean up their own messes.
It made me appreciate that at the same time, older means old enough to pull pranks, like put soap on someone’s toothbrush and put toothpaste all over the new girl after she falls asleep. I had to remember that I did all that when I was younger, and I didn’t turn out to be a rotten, mean girl. It’s just a rite of passage.
It made me appreciate the grace my daughter is learning when she acted as if every present she opened was the bestest, and thanked every parent when they showed up to take her friends home.
(It made me thankful, too, that my daughter can interpret each of my different patented mama-stares, eyebrow-raise optional.)
It made me appreciate how many good friends I have, when one of them volunteers to bring my girls home from a birthday party so I can have a few quiet hours to recover.
It made me appreciate the difference between having a fun, albeit rambunctious, sleepover, and being stuck inside a city terrorized in a lock-down.
It made me appreciate that being loud and out-of-control is light-years away from the grief four families in Boston are going through.
It made me appreciate that everything, everything is far too precious and way too fleeting.

How can you not be infinitely thankful for all of that? I joke around, yes, but this year it was a little more than that. It’s so much more than merely surviving, to emerge with an appreciation as full as all that. In a land of crazy, I take my moments of grace when I can!

Perspective. Also: cake! CAKE!!

April 19, 2013

Gracie’s sleepover is tonight. I’ve gone from absolutely dreading the moment when ten tween-age girls descend upon me the house to actually looking forward to several hours when the only thing I’ll be anxious over is whether all(!) the(!) shrieking(!!) will make me lose my hearing.

Gracie is excited. And I am excited for her. All the world should be birthday parties and requests for Paul Frank cakes, and worry over what movies to screen instead of alllll the other things the world is worrying over today.

Houses filled with over-excited children for an entire night. Pfft. We should all be so lucky.


I better have a mountain of Mommy-points somewhere.

April 30, 2012

Sometimes, the best thing you can say about really stupid brilliant ideas is that you’ve survived them. The Great “Sleep”over of 2012 has come, has gone, and it kicked my ass. But, Saturday afternoon when Gracie turned to me and said, completely out of nowhere, “Yesterday was the best day of my life, Mommy!” seemed to make it all worth it.


I’m pretty sure I lost a little more than half my mind. The rest of it is still twitching. But I shouldn’t complain – it was the best day of my baby’s life, after all. And why not?

The sweets: The Candy Meadow Room cake from Willy Wonka didn’t come out quite like I had envisioned, but Gracie thought it was the coolest thing ever. A fudge river, fudge waterfall, green spiky grass, lollipop and cotton candy trees, flowering brownie bushes, gummi bears and gummi cherries… it was tricked out. And – my favorite – ready in plenty of time for the party. We’ll ignore the part where the brownie pops I spent two hours making went untouched, or that time that Gracie’s (wildish) friend Big A. shook a soda in order to spray her friends.Thankfully(for flipping out on other people’s kids is generally frowned upon), I caught her as she was shaka-shaka-shaking it and told her that was not a good inside activity. Ahem.

The sweets: themed variety: The kiddos loved making their own lollipops. Painting some of the depressions different colors to make fancy, multi-colored lollipops was apparently the best! thing! ever! And since they lost interest after one pan, no one was sugarhigh. For too long. Sort of. We’ll ignore the fact that I ordered about $20 too much of the candy melts for Corrie and I have already planned Cakepop Day at Casa de Katie. FTW!

The pukemeister that wasn’t: Did I mention that Bee came home from her dad’s house on Thursday night all pukey? No?Because she did. She threw up three times at her dad’s, twice at my house, and woke up four times during the night. She said she felt better on Friday, so, like the mean mom I am, I sent her to school because I had to cover the office and no one would believe me if I called out sick. I spent the day sacrificing small woodland animals and trading karmic wishes with the universe if only Bee stayed in school. And because I had successfully made plans to ship her off to her dad’s if she was sick again, the little booger didn’t puke once. The upside: Bee not only stayed healthy, but she was the best behaved kiddo at the party. (Dear pod-peoples: I might be slightly freaked out here, but don’t you dare try to trade me back for this PodBee. I like her. Lots.)

The sleeping: Ha! HA! HA HA HA HA HAAAAA! Sleeping! At a sleepover of 8-year-olds! HA! I made everyone get pajamafied and lie down at 10 p.m. I shut the big lights off and everything. At 11 p.m., I threatened to shut off the movie, and at almost midnight, with only two of them still awake, I cut off their electricity. No more TV for them! But the joke was on me because at 2:30 a.m. (TWO-THIRTYA.M.!) I woke up to the sound of screaming and laughing. I flung my bedroom door open and saw all the lights (ALL THE LIGHTS!!!) on and a pillow-fight frozen mid-swing. Gracie tried telling me she was trying to sleep, but Big A. and Little A. were being too giggly. “Trying to sleep while coloring in your color-me-purse?” I asked. I flipped out a bit, rearranged everyone’s sleeping bags, reiterated my expectations of QUIET and SLEEPING and shut off the lights. And I only had to repeat that twice more in the next ten minutes before the pea-soup spewing out of my rapidly rotating head convinced them I was serious.

The upside: I finished an entire book (Stephen King’s new Dark Tower) while waiting for the chilluns to get sleepy. Well, actually, I read most of it Friday night, and then finished it off over coffee while I hid in my bedroom from the scary, sleepless zombie-children. Between reading my book and texting with my dear childhood friend with whom I spent many sleepovers on the other (ahem: fun!) side of the equation, I think I kept my sanity from leaking out my ear.

The Aftermath: Saturday morning wasn’t nearly as bas as I thought. The girls played outside (Sorry neighbors! Shrieking childrens are not exactly fun at 8:30 in the morning. That’s why I let them play outside. Ahem.) while I inhaled coffee. Gracie’s friend across the street had to leave early because of a soccer game (and I was sad, for she was the best one there), and then Big A. just kinda walked out the door an hour later. Yes! Seriously! I was in my bedroom reading and I heard the squeaky deadbolt turn and the door open. When I walked into the living room, Big A. was gone. Thankfully, her dad answered when I called, frantically, and said he had her and all was well. And after an impromptu lecture to the remaining girls that you DO NOT leave without telling a grown-up, so were we. In fact, Bee, Gracie, and Little A. played so well for the remaining hour and a half that I was almost sad to see Little A. go. She had staved off the exhaustion and the whining and the inevitable clean-up, after all. Heh.

But, like I said, we all survived. Rooms were cleaned with surprisingly little resistance. Tears stayed banished. Naps were taken – although, admittedly, but Mommy only. And as a reward (for me!), we all went to see The Pirates late Saturday afternoon. I thought it was a rather clever way to stave off the meltdowns that were sure to come if we tried to power through on our own.

Gracie might have had the best day of her life on Friday, but I think all three of us at Casa de Katie can agree that Saturday night was the best sleep of our life. The Great “Sleep”over of 2012 is over…and only 364 days until we have to survive the next one.

A montage of flashbacks.

January 23, 2012

Friday night, our neighbor J. came to sleep over. She’s slept over several times – it’s easy to say yes when it feels like you just have an extra one of your own children running around. I love that John and Corrie obviously have very similar structure at their house. Truly, the only difference between J. and my own children is that I hear, “Miss Katie! Miss Katie! Miss Katie!” instead of “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” nonstop until I acknowledge whatever craft, Lego construction, or fascinating tidbit she wants to hear.

This weekend, not only did J. remind me of my own children, but she and the girls reminded me of alllll the sleepovers I use to have as a child. On Friday night, Gracie and J. played Super Mario Brothers on the wii. It was more of a mishmash of all Super Mario worlds, combined with Yoshi – I mean, it certainly looked different from the old school games. But the sounds, oh the sound effects were so similar at times. I had flashbacks to the first sleepover my friends and I had at Denise’s house when she first received her Nintendo. We stayed up all hours of the night – literally – taking turns killing ourselves and trying to get part that darn castle level. It made me think, too, of all the times my friend Pickles would sleep over at my house and how hard we tried to beat the original, Super Mario 2 (that was impossible!) and Super Mario 3. Seriously, the Mario Brothers ditty would end up on the soundtrack of our childhood. All of those scenes flashed through my head as I listened to the girls giggling and yelling “Press 1! No! The other button! Quick, jump!” from the other room. It was awesomeness.

Also awesome: the girls were so quiet the next morning, that when I woke up and found their abandoned sleeping backs in the next room, I wondered if they had all pigpiled into Bee’s bed at some point to finish sleeping. Yeah, keep dreaming Mom. Instead, they had moved their energetic little selves into the front room where they created a Barbie city. Alllll the Barbie furniture and Barbies were set up into several different…villas? general heaps of furntiure?…across the room. Listening to the girls sweet falsettos as they played  Barbie took me back to all those times our cousin Shayne had slept over. One summer when my dad was finishing the attic floor, my sister and I had set up a permanent Barbie village in our playroom where we were sleeping downstairs. That village was left intact all summer, making it so much easier for Kim, Shayne and I to pick up where our Barbie sagas had left off. We would play for an hour when Shayne came with her parents to visit, or more likely for hours on end when Shayne came to spend the night. (That summer I think Shayne was at our house almost as often as we were!) It was good to learn that while the Barbie fashions and accessories might change, the storylines never will.

Later, after (most of) the Barbies were picked up, J. and Gracie decided to play with the spy gear that Gracie got for Christmas while Bee set up the Polly Pockets. (I can only imagine the hostage situations they were planning with Bee’s toys.) The girls shot secret messages out of Gracie’s wrist dart-launcher, created code names, and spied on an oblivious Bee – sort of like what my cousin Hoot and I would play when I was at his house. Only when I was younger, we were usually playing spy in the woods, or using our spy skills to torment his brother Andrew.  At least Gracie and J. seemed to be benevolent spies!

It really was a trip down memory lane, listening to the kiddos play together so nicely. I think John and Corrie will finally start believing me that it really is easier for me with J. over when I start having sleepovers every Friday!

CrazySweet, neurotic, and over.

April 24, 2011

I had a funny recap of Gracie’s sleepover party all ready in my head – written in between madcap moments during the party – but having come out the other side, now I find the words have…disappeared. Oh, the party was still a success. Gracie is still floating off the ground with newfound status as One Who Holds Sleepovers. Rather, it’s me who is left unsure of what just happened.

In my first post, the one I created in my head, I had a dozen or so humorous moments twisted together: how I cowered tactfully stayed out of sight in my bedroom with my laptop and a book while the girls destroyed played in the big room; how I mistakenly ignored the loud declaration that someone had a Great! Idea!…and found all twenty of the helium balloons had been cut from their strings and were floating on the ceiling; how one friend asked to call her mom to get her at 9pm, only to ask her mom when she got here to go home and bring her sleeping bag, and then change her mind again and ask to go home; how I almost list the birthday cake (and the counter) on fire with re-igniting sparkler candles that really seemed like a good idea at the time. Yes, I had lots of funny stories drafted for you. But now that it’s time to write them all out for reals, I feel sad and nostalgic, like it a bittersweet crazy-fun-neurotic milestone has passed me by forever and goodness gracious – I want it back.

Gracie’s first sleepover is over. Done. A milestone reached. My oldest daughter navigated her way through yet another milestone and now, 24 hours later, instead of glorying in being rid of the giggling masses with my wits intact, I’m wishing the battle was still in front of us. Gracie handled herself with such aplomb, reminding her friends of the rules (no playing in mom’s bedroom, no going in the guest/craft room, no opening the doors in the morning when the house alarm is on) and making sure that her sister was allowed to partake in the fun. I was so proud of how mature she acted. Sure, she fed off of her rambunctious friends’ antics and I had to remind them all to play Dead Puppy or Horse Races a little more quietly, but for the most part, I didn’t have to intercede. Gracie ran the show in such a way that I just needed to check in every once in awhile.

I hope when Gracie grows older and sleepovers become the norm instead of a treat, when she’s hosting her daughter’s first sleepover, that she remembers. I can’t remember my first “girls only” slumber party, but I do remember it took me forever to make it through the night on my own at my cousin’s or even my Gram’s. The problem there was that when I stayed at my cousin Hoot’s house, he would scare the crap out of me, telling me that Dracula lived on the second floor and would walk through his room every night when he descended to hunt the night, or making spooky sounds, or grabbing my foot during the night and trying to make me scream. Yeah, I much preferred having a friend over at my house – is it any wonder?

When I did graduate to group sleepovers, I wondered what the heck I had been so scared of. We tried to scare ourselves, watching Jaws marathons at Jenny’s house and scaring ourselves so badly when the lights went out that we had to run through the house to the bakery where her dad worked. (Fresh donuts at midnight fix everything, it turns out.) We giggled over boys, made prank calls, and a pair of us, inevitably, stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, bonding over secrets that could never come out in front of so many friends together. The six of us girls who grew up together became tighter with every sleepover. And now Gracie is stepping into that territory, navigating her way through middle childhood. I don’t know why, but it feels certain that this sleepover marked the beginning of her journey.

That’s the bitter part of this sweet: she did remarkably well. I wasn’t called to intercede. Friends didn’t squabble. There was no drama. I wasn’t needed, other than to serve the cake and snap pictures during presents. Oh, and to change the movies and start the wii, but only because those are just out of reach. (Maybe I should put more things out of reach so I’m needed a little bit longer?) An entire day’s worth of experiences happened with me no only on the fringes, but out of the loop entirely and the further Gracie movies through Middle Childhood, the more that will become the rule instead of a singular example. I have to remember that this is the way it’s supposed to be. So many happy memories (and teary ones, too) happened for me and it’s wonderful that my daughter is going to laugh and discover and good lord CHAT and CHAT and CHAT as much as I did.

So yes, to answer everyone’s questions: we survived the sleepover. So far. Now we’re off along a yellow-brick road of all new adventures.