By: Tanya Ward Goodman
My daughter just had her first slumber party. Five of her dearest pals arrived with a rainbow of sleeping bags, overnight totes, and sparkly toes.
In college and for many, many years after, I worked two or three jobs at a time. I was a waitress, an executive assistant, a script coordinator and sometimes all three in a period of a few days. Double shifts or triple shifts did not daunt me. This slumber party made me grateful for that previous experience. This slumber party might have ground to a halt if my resume weren’t so crammed full of random jobs in the service industry.
I served “Ants on a Log” while organizing a bracelet-making craft project. When it was requested, I improvised “punch” out of mango juice and fizzy water and garnished it with a lime wedge. I made drink runs and took orders for re-fills. I prepped the dinner of ham and butter sandwiches, cucumber slices, and strawberries. I plated the dinner, served it, and took orders for substitutions. I cooked pasta and made jam sandwiches. I re-filled milk and made more “punch”. I added rubber stamp art to the bead-bracelet-making table and made a space for the Breyer horse race to begin. My husband and I did manicures and pedicures while my son took on the role of “baby who had walked into an electric fence” for the girls’ medical drama. I served the cupcakes.
At this point, I happened to notice that we were only about an hour and a half into our evening.
Post cupcakes, we played Twister and Bingo and Simon Says. There was lots of high-pitched giggling.
When all the swirling activity became too much, we watched some Looney Toons and rearranged the living room to accommodate all the sleeping bags and pillows and well-loved stuffed animals.
I brought glasses of water. I plumped pillows and turned the lights off one at a time.
“Shh.” I said. “Rest.”
And they did.
We were awake. We ate donuts and scrambled eggs and eggs in a basket and fruit salad and toast. I drank coffee and they drank juice and milk and water. We all combed our hair and brushed our teeth and made more beaded bracelets and more rubber stamp art. There were rehearsals for a play featuring a lot of wood fairies. The production dissolved before opening night due to creative differences. I braided beads and thread into six heads of hair and rolled six sleeping bags. I located five sets of shoes and handed out party favors and by 10:15 our house was quiet again (or as quiet as it gets with two full time resident kids).
It was fun. Really fun.
My daughter has good friends. And by that I mean that they excel at liking my daughter, but they are also good people. They are kind and funny and compassionate. They mostly cooperate and try to solve their own problems. They are interested in the world and have no problem expressing their opinions. They say please and thank you and put their dishes in the sink.
These girls give me faith in the future.