I was sitting on the porch yesterday, watching for Christopher to walk up the street from his friends house.
I’m not so far removed from my childhood that I couldn’t recognize a conspiracy brewing as he and his friend approached the house. They were talking low and walking slowly.
They stumbled over each others words as they made their case for a sleep over that had to be THAT evening. I had a flashback as I said, “I’ll tell you what...” as though hearing my parents voice or the voice of my friends parents.
I sent him and Christopher back down the street with the message, “If it’s okay with you, it’s okay with Christopher’s mom”. Christopher came trotting back; his friend would be over after he took a shower and ate dinner.
The evening went along fine. They boys played friendly and non-competitively on the xBox, way through their second wind, before I called for lights out. They continued talking in the dark and I had to repeat no less than five times to “go to sleep”.
They woke up early in the morning as if they might miss something and picked up where they left off. Somewhere around the time of once anticipated/needed “first naps”, things started to go downhill. I directed traffic to a new scene before things got too congested.
A while after that, they really weren’t speaking and played parallel instead of together. On a quiet ride to McDonald’s Christopher pouted that he wasn’t hungry. When his friend ordered, Christopher said he might as well get something too “just in case”. Turns out he was starving and the fuel rekindled their friendship on the way home.
Give or take about 35 years ago, I had a friend who was a year older than me just like Christopher’s friend. She and I approached our parents as co-conspirators, much like Christopher and his friend, bargaining for a sleep over. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. “I’ll tell you what...” began with, “No fighting or crying?” We would chime in unison, “Noooooo”, eagerly anticipating, “Well okay”, to whomever needed to get ready and pack.”
Just like Christopher’s friend, my friend was bossy. She was “Simon”, she was the Mother in “Mother may I”, she was “the seeker”, and she was the Mommy when we played house (I was the husband or the child - either way I got bossed around). As little girls, we giggled until nearly dawn sometimes.
I can’t remember how I handled her. I know our sleep over likely ended with someone crying and another wanting to go home.
For Christopher, the silent treatment began with him saying, “NoooooAH”, “Dude, c’mon”, and “I’m not playing what you want to play all the time.”
I sent my mom an e-mail after Christopher’s friend was gone saying, “LAWDHAMERCY THEY WORKED A NERVE! If I could type the font smaller, like micro small, I would say they were like me and Tasha”.
She wrote me back saying, “LOL! Payback!”
I could never understand what the big deal was about a sleep over and why the mere mention of it seemed to exhaust our parents who each made eye contact with the other, probably about whose turn it was.
Here’s the thing...I get it now.