Tonight I was out walking and I heard a little girl yell at her mom:
“When do I get to have a sleepover?”
And her mom yelled back:
“YOU’RE HAVING ONE!”
I completely understood.
Sometimes we are definitely NOT having a sleepover. Which sucks, and every human being ought to have the right to sleepovers, sleepovers are awesome.
Sometimes we are having a sleepover, and we recognize it as such, but it’s not exactly how we pictured it all week at school when the thought of the impending sleepover was the only thing keeping us sane. Our parents are being a little more observant than maybe we promised our friends, or a little less chill about the noise we are making than they were last time, or Kevin who’s extremely charismatic talked everybody in to renting a video we ourselves had no interest in watching instead of Monty Python And The Holy Grail which we know everyone would like if they would’ve given it a chance. And the superficial differences between the sleepover we were having in our heads all week and the one happening all around us is bugging us, until around eleven PM we start panicking, it’s almost lights out and here we’ve spent the entirety of the time since everyone got dropped off at seven noticing how this sleepover is not measuring up to our mental one, not at all, and it’s completely prevented us from enjoying the sleepover in front of us, and we’re not gonna get to have another one until next year if we’re lucky, our parents are cool enough but not that cool that we can just have everybody over again next Friday night if we so choose.
And then sometimes we are having a sleepover and we can’t even bring ourselves to recognize it as such. We are having a Tuesday middle-of-the-school-day feeling and here it is, a Friday night when everyone’s over. And we might even find ourselves saying out loud that we wish we were at a sleepover and somebody might remind us that we are. And we might think “how dumb or messed up am I that I was longing to have a sleepover in the middle of what everyone agrees is my sleepover.” And we have to fight to make ourselves enjoy the pizza and soda and the just-ever-so-slightly-too-mature movie and feel the airy freedom of the oversized t-shirt and novelty SPAM boxers we’re wearing as pajamas. And everyone else is having the greatest time and we feel very alone.
I hope that ten years on when that mom echoes back to that girl what she said tonight, that she longed to have a sleepover when she was in the middle of having a sleepover, a rare one on a weeknight no less, I hope the boyfriend or girlfriend or best friend or whoever is there that the mom is telling the story to in hopes of mildly embarrassing her daughter, I hope that person goes, “I totally get that. I too have longed to have a sleepover in the middle of having a sleepover.”