When I was young I loved the thought of a sleepover at a friend’s house, problem was that I rarely made it to the actual “sleepover” part. We would play and watch movies, but when it was time to actually get ready for bed something came over me. I didn’t feel right. My stomach would turn and a panic would start to set it. Now as an adult I realize that it was anxiety. It was pretty awful, and sometimes embarrassing. I remember telling my friend’s mom I had a sinus headache and needed to go home…I didn’t know what sinuses were! My poor parents would have to come and retrieve me and I would leave my friend disappointed and in tears. Sinus headaches seemed to my way out of any sleepover after that. It worked so well.
I eventually grew out of this. I remember being so proud of myself when I would make it a whole night at a friend’s house. But still, every time I packed my bag I would be in fear of one of these episodes happening again. I just couldn’t help it. I recall being very brave one weekend and I went camping for two whole nights with my friend and her parents. I can recall it like it was yesterday. It was the first time I actually drank an entire can of Coca-Cola. I think I was 9 or 10. On the second night I almost needed to be rescued, but I made it. After that I knew I could make it through any sleepover…and I did.
My nephew has the same sleepover anxiety issues I had as a kid. He wants to sleep over so badly, but by the time bedtime comes around he’s ready to go home. So we invited him over for a “sleepover without the sleepover.” No pressure here, just fun. We had pizza. We played hide and seek in the dark with glow-sticks. We had a balloon dance party. We painted. We watched a movie and had popcorn, and we even indulged in a little chocolate. Before I knew it, my nephew was asking if I would make him a omlet in the morning because he LOVES them. “Absolutely!” I replied. Even though he was full of enthusiasm I was still on edge until he finally went to sleep. He did it. Not once did he say he was ready to go home. Not once did I see the look in his eyes that he was contemplating staying. He did it. I was overwhelmingly proud of him.
When he woke in the morning he was all smiles. “I did it! I told you I would!” he said. “Yes, you sure did!” I replied. He was beaming with pride and I remembered that feeling. Pure bliss. He accomplished his goal. My husband made a fabulous omelet and we all went on a hike. It was great way to end our “sleepover without the sleepover” with the sleepover.