Last week I wrote about a lovely memory I have of my father. Now I will write about my mother.
When I was a child, maybe 3rd or 4th grade, I had my first sleepover party. It was a Valentine’s Day tea party, and my mother pulled out all the stops. Heart shaped doily’s, pink and red streamers, the whole shebang. I invited five friends to stay over, and we were up talking until 3am when my mother came downstairs and yelled at us to go to sleep. I fell in love with sleepover parties that day, and asked her for several more as I got older.
Every party had a theme. One year it was mid-January, so my mother made the theme “Winter Blues” and hung paper raindrops and snowflakes from the ceiling. Another year was a pool party with a cake shaped like our pool complete with gummi rings for life preservers. But the pinnacle of sleepover parties was the Murder-Mystery one.
My friend Jill and I got the idea one afternoon while drawing in her basement. We had found some old manilla file folders, and we were making portraits of crazy people/monsters. I was obsessed with murder mysteries when I was younger-my favorite movies were Clue and Murder by Death, and I loved Agatha Christie. Jill said the pictures we were drawing reminded her of portraits you would find hanging in a creepy mansion somewhere. “Have you ever been to a murder mystery party? They’d be good for that,” she said. And an idea was born.
We took it to my mother, who was all about it. She told me I could have five friends sleepover, but after Jill and I wrote the script we realized we needed at least 8 people. So, we invited a couple extra girls to play the murder victims. Once killed, the girls went home.
Looking back, I regret this. I wish I could have had them sleepover, too. I feel terrible that I was essentially like “Come to my party, but then leave when I tell you to.” But we were 12 years old and stupid, and thought it all made perfect sense at the time.
There were costumes, made by my mother and Jill, who was very into fashion. (Side note: she is now a seamstress, which surprises me not at all.) Mom was a wealthy dowager, Jill was the maid, and I played the role of hostess. My mother had no problem at all following script and playing along with us, and was as much a part of the party as any of my friends. That night, after the mystery was solved (the maid did it,) we played truth or dare until the sun came up. Then mom made pancakes, and my friends left, and mom and I cleaned up the mess.
That was my last big sleepover party.
This past weekend my cousin G, who is ten, was with us. She came for a sleepover on Valentine’s Day and ended up staying all weekend. I lamented to Hubs that I was not my mother, and thus had no games or treats or decorations or costumes, and he was sympathetic but I don’t really think he understands because he is a boy, and all his sleepovers consisted of eating pizza and playing video games.
In the end, it didn’t matter. I didn’t have to do a thing and G still had a great time, begging me to stay for just one more day. When I dropped her off yesterday, she was sad. It was kind of cute, and made me feel like I’m not quite the crap hostess I envision myself to be. I’m never going to throw a party like my mother, but I’m glad of that. The memories of the parties she threw for me, and the knowledge of how much time, energy, and money went into them, is something I cherish. She gave me these amazing parties to carry with me, and instilled in me the love of a sleepover. I still love sleepovers. Just had one with Sahar in November. Jaime and I used to have them all the time. We should plan one. I don’t care if I’m pushing 40, I am always down for a slumber party.