Life with a Smile: Surviving the first big slumber party

Published 9:01 am Monday, November 21, 2016

By Kate Snyder

Contributing writer

I survived my eldest daughter’s first big slumber party last weekend. I think I deserve a medal. Or a trophy. Or at least a really big box of bourbon balls. This event had been many weeks in the making. Her birthday is in mid-October and she started drawing up the plans in August. Everything was carefully strategized. Where would they sleep? What games would they play and in what order?

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On the weekend of her birthday, everything was ready. Ingredients for chocolate fondue purchased. New fuzzy nightgown washed and ready. Guest list finalized and all RSVPs accounted for. Then, tragedy struck in the form of a raging stomach bug. Half her guests got sick and we had to postpone the festivities.

But on round two, we achieved liftoff. Seven little girls showed up on my doorstep on Saturday afternoon and proceeded to eat and giggle themselves into a manic sugar craze. They ate pizza. They painted ceramic boxes shaped like butterflies. They played hopscotch in the driveway. But mostly it seemed like they ran laps around the house, squealing madly.

My daughter’s friends are a tight-knit pack and the inside jokes and nicknames flowed around me in an incomprehensible tidal wave of girl power. They turned cartwheels in the living room and organized a team sing-off. They stuffed themselves with popcorn and drank Shirley Temples with paper umbrellas and bendy straws, then jumped up to dance to the end credits of Zootopia, rewinding half a dozen times to keep the fun going a bit longer.

To some of my gentle readers, this scene almost certainly sounds like a description of the eighth circle of hell, but honestly it’s often less work to entertain a pack of children than it is to manage just your own. When your kids have friends over, they entertain themselves and are far less likely to demand that you play the wicked witch in an elaborately-scripted game of pretend!

Things got a little dicey around midnight when the gaggle of girls divided into two camps: those who wanted to sleep and those who wanted to continue giggling indefinitely. Exhaustion was setting in for even the most devoted party girls and they wavered on the edge of hostility before I weighed in on the side of those who wanted to sleep. I threatened to sit in the bedroom with them until they all conked out if they couldn’t bring the decibel level down about a million percent.

The last whispers died out around 12:30 and we all managed to get a few hours of sleep. After breakfast, we went for a walk around the neighborhood to shake off the cobwebs. And what a sight they were, skipping down the road, hand in hand in hand – a giant chain of girls spanning the entire street and laughing like loons. I stumbled across a quote when I was younger that has always encapsulated my memories of my childhood. Sadly I can’t find the attribution, but I thought of it often as I watched the girls together. “Each young and beautiful being creates around itself memories that are themselves young, beautiful, and happy.”

That is my hope for these amazing girls. That they never outgrow the joy they take in each other’s company. That they always see chocolate fondue as the magical elixir it is. And that they laugh and skip and hold each other’s hands — forever young, beautiful, and happy.