As my son helped his friend unroll his sleeping back last Saturday night, he proudly announced “This is my first sleep over since I moved to Evanston.” His friend looked at him and so “Oh”.
From the moment the word “This” left my son’s mouth, my heart leapt out of my chest, smashed through the front windows, hit the building across the street and smashed right back into my chest. I knew what my son was going to tell his friend, he and I had talked about it over breakfast (him super calm, me super freaked out) and I knew the day meant a ton to him. (Of course the day meant more to ME as I have been filled with endless amounts of guilt and anxiety since moving my children away from their happy social world and want them to be popular and happy RIGHT NOW!)
In our old house and city, my son celebrated every weekend with a sleepover as we were usually the house where kids would experience their first sleepovers. We were a good testing ground and I loved having kids in the house, even if they woke me up at 5 a.m.
In Evanston, we’ve all been sewing our social oats slowly but surely and although it felt like forever, we finally had a sleepover on the calendar after being here for 10 months. As I mentioned before, I was anxious and excited all at once and just hung out on the perimeters, kindly fielding requests for juice, popcorn, brownies, etc. I was way too excited to be in the service of 4th graders, but I wanted this first sleepover to be easy and fun damnit!
As the boys got ready for bed, I offered to build a nest to which my son said “Yes!” and his friend said “What’s a nest?” My son filled him in, “Oh she always builds them, it’s like lots of blankets on the floor and pillows and it’s super comfy to sleep in, like a big nest.” Luckily his friend said “Sure!”
So I got to building my nest and made a big comfy bed for the boys to pass out in while watching Jurassic Park, which they did at about 10:25 p.m.
I am proud of my son for taking this move in stride and waiting patiently for the right friend to invite over for a first sleepover. He is so patient and kind and was extremely grateful for the yummy crepes I made them for breakfast the next morning, another thing I always do in addition to making nests is making crepes for breakfast. (Holiday or not, we rock crepes.)
And I’m so proud of me for making myself totally available to facilitate the sleepover on my son’s terms and not pushing the issue months too early with a child that was socially advantageous to me and not necessarily my son. I always imagined that’s what a good parent did - listens, follows their child’s lead, facilitates. I promised myself I would do that in my 40th year, talk less, listen more and be a better parent, and based on last Saturday night’s behavior, I’m on it.
Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni