H had a plan.
It involved two friends, a Saturday night, junk food, and a room decked out with a blue lightbulb, a disco ball, and various other light-up gizmos. After missing several parties and other events because of colds and bad weather over the last month, she intended to host a sleepover.
Her friends arrived mid afternoon on Saturday and, from that point until dinner, they were pretty much self-sufficient. Remember those early days, when a friend would come over, and the little children would look to us for entertainment ideas? “How about you play a game? or build something with your blocks? or swing on the swing set? or play with dough?” I’d suggest. And they’d look at me blankly, glumly. “No… we want to do something fun!”
This is not a problem anymore.
The girls ran right for the computer and spent an hour watching music videos. Until we finally told them to log off and go PLAY together before they wasted the day in front of a screen.
Up they ran to H’s room. Door shut. Music playing. Lights flashing. A dance party, I assume, but since the door was shut, I can’t be sure. I could just hear the thumping and jumping from downstairs.
Later, they came downstairs for sustenance: two pizzas that M had picked up earlier, unbaked, that we could cook on our own schedule.
We live in the boonies. No one delivers food to our door. By the time we get pizza back to the house, it’s usually cold and congealed. M had the great idea to ask if we could have the pizzas unbaked and do the cooking in our own oven. The pizza place said, “sure!” They even lent us their pizza pans (asking us politely if we could return them when we were done).
Dinner was followed by a rousing game of Apples to Apples, possibly the best word game ever invented for a group of mixed ages.
And, then, of course, there was popcorn. And a movie (a video collection of silly science fiction previews, to be precise).
Followed by much silliness and laughter.
I was already in bed when I heard them tromp up the stairs to brush their teeth and settle into their sleeping bags. They’re only eleven, but they sounded so grown up to me. They had spent the last hour or more making up and acting out fairy tale plays for M, and their talk was still high and bright with laughter as they got ready for bed. Their voices were confident and knowing; they didn’t really need us at all, but for once, I didn’t feel sad about it. I loved hearing the future in their voices.
I think it all worked out just the way she planned.