Monday, February 10, 2014
The First Sleepover
A right of passage for most children, usually starting with spending the night with cousins or the children of family friends, but then evolving into the more serious, committment-heavy extensions tacked on to successful playdates.
Samantha has not had cousins to grow up with, and we have never spent the night with far-off friends who had children still at home. I have only recently gotten brave enough to venture into the playdate-with-a-typically-developing-friend world, crossing my fingers that perhaps it could develop into a relationship that could sustain an overnight adventure. I've certainly talked about sleepovers with some of Sammi's friends with Down syndrome, but in the interest of parental peace of mind, that kind of sleepover would require the parent to stay, too. Not a problem, but it requires a bit of logistical dexterity on the part of our house and its sleeping arrangements. So those get pushed back and back. And Sammi asks, nearly every day, if she can have a sleepover with one of her friends. It's so hard to keep saying, "We'll see..."
But that typical playdate seeking an extension by all parties has finally developed, and on Saturday night we played host to one of Samantha's classmates, who happens to live only about a block away.
And the girls had a great time.
They watched TV, ate dinner, read books, drew/painted pictures, and giggled and chatted after lights out, hopping from sleeping bag-covered floor to bed and back again until, with both girls tucked into Sammi's twin bed, we decided 10pm was late enough and put on the breaks.
We weren't worried about having another child in the house. I was more worried about whether or not that child would have a good time, or if she would be bored with Samantha, disillusioned, so to speak. Not like she doesn't see her each and every day at school, and not like they haven't had playdates before, but overnight is a long time.
The worry was for nothing, though. After the little girl spent a good, long time drawing a picture, she presented it to Samantha as a surprise. It was beautiful. A full-color drawing of her and Sammi, holding hands and playing together.
She announced, beaming, exuberant, excited and speaking very quickly, "I like to draw pictures for my best friends. And Sammi is definitely one of them, and I have a *lot!* I mean, a LOT of best friends!"
At that, we had to laugh. Maybe one day she'll realize the back-handed compliment she'd just paid. But we knew what she meant, and it was definitely not to say that Sammi was just a small fish in a huge sea of BFFs in this girl's life...it was to say she really valued Samantha, enjoyed her company, and saw her as a best friend. Among many. LOL
Before the girls went to bed, Sammi's friend called her parents to say goodnight. I heard her telling her mom what a "blast" they were having, and that she was having the best time. In the morning, after a trip to IHOP for breakfast, after I said we'd need to pack up her things and walk her home, she was sad, saying she wanted to stay longer, to keep playing with Samantha. Sammi was sad, too.
And, while I made all the right sad faces in commiseration of the plight of the two little friends, my insides were grinning, each fiber within me jumping up and down with joy, that the first sleepover, the ultimate validation of childhood friendship, had so successfully come to fruition.
Plans are being made for Samantha to spend the night at her house one day. Not quite sure she's ready, or perhaps it's we who are not quite ready, but we'll see...