First Sleepover

January 2, 2008
By Emily Dennehy, Charlotte, NC

“I am so excited! This is going to be the best night of my life!” I exclaim to my mother as I prance out of the front door. I hold in my little twig-like arms my sleeping bag, pajamas, and toothbrush, and I am ready to go. I always thought of first sleepovers as being one of the most enjoyable events of childhood, but mine escalated into the exact opposite.

“Call me if you need anything at all,” says my mom during the car ride over. I tell her that I may not call because I will be having way too much fun, and she will only hear from me if there is a massive emergency. She giggles, and says “Alright sweetie,” and I give her a look of perplexity and confusion. We finally arrive at the house, 3422 Greenway Street, and I plant an enormous goodbye kiss on my mother’s cheek. I skip into the house with my sleepover necessities in hand, and I knock on the door with tremendous excitement. My best friends Alexa, Kaley, and Sarah greet me at the door, and we jump up and down with anticipation of the fun evening to come. The night begins with finger-painting and some yummy pizza. I paint a beautiful apple tree with my best friends circled around it holding hands. Alexa paints a tropical beach, Kaley a royal castle, and Sarah paints a fanatical array of zoo animals. “Let’s play dress-up!” says Alexa. We gleefully follow her into her pink and perfectly organized room and begin to imagine ourselves as princesses and royal guests. I shimmy on a flowing and sparkly ball gown and envision myself as Cinderella. My friends act like my royal servants, serving me tea and delicious cookies, and then Alexa says “My turn!” and we switch places. The night is going on without a hitch and we are ready to play a suspenseful game of hide and go seek, when all of a sudden, I start to feel homesick. Never had I experienced this feeling of loneliness and sadness, and I did not know how to react. I sit like a little mouse in the corner of the play room and think about how excited I felt earlier that evening. My friends continue to play and prance around like nothing is wrong and I wonder why I can’t feel that way too. I try to join in with their fun and games, but all I can think about is my mom, dad, and sisters at home. “Maybe I do need my mommy.” I say to myself. I think back to what she told me earlier that day, and I decide that this indicates an absolute emergency, and I should most certainly call her. I dial the numbers, 544-9429 and anxiously await the sound of my mother’s voice. She answers and I notify her of how I feel, and she comforts me with her loving voice and tells me that it will be ok. Somehow her voice assures me that everything is alright, and I bounce back to my perky and bubbly self and continue to play with my friends.
The clock strikes 10:00 and we settle our tiny first grade bodies into our sleeping bags. Alexa’s mom pops in Beauty and the Beast and we engage ourselves fully in the magical tale about the beautiful girl and a hideous beast. Just as the dancing utensils and inanimate objects begin to sing “Be our Guest”, I start to feel a tad bit under the weather. I begin to worry that I will be sick, and I rush to the kitchen to call my mother again. This time I tell her that this is a true emergency and I need her to come right away. My mom rushes to rescue me, and I run to her car dressed in my ballerina pajamas and puppy slippers. She embraces me with a colossal hug, and I thank her for coming to save me. I tell my friends goodbye, and apologize that I couldn’t stay the night. Kaley calls me a “chicken” for leaving so early, but Alexa and Sarah reassure me that they still love me and they understand how I feel.
My first sleepover experience away from home was supposed to be one of the happiest nights of my first-grade life, but instead I “chickened” out and had to be rescued by my mom. Looking back on this event helped me to realize that this “first” began my journey to independence and responsibility. I no longer have to call on my mom to pull me out of miniscule situations, although she is always there to assist me when I need her.
My first time away from home resembles many other “firsts” in my life. Each time I am presented with a new event or task, I tend to “chicken out” and shy away, however I am currently learning how to deal better with change. This minor incident holds a significant meaning for me because it demonstrates how much I have matured and grown over the years, and reveals my advancement into the world of independence and adulthood.

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