Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Sleepover

It's a lovely Tuesday morning. After the holiday yesterday, it's a nice feeling to move back into the structured week. This is the first week in such a long time where it feels truly open. I have no deadlines or special events looming, just a nice series of work-related tasks and simple daily errands.

The last celebration of the long holiday season was the official party for J's 14th birthday, which took place on Saturday. She wanted to have a sleepover with her good friends, and, being a crazy person, I agreed. I was thinking that it would be quick and easy and not cost more than pizzas and cake. No venues to book, no themes, or detailed games to work out, no prizes to buy. Just a group of girls watching DVDs and eating.

Do you have ANY idea how much noise a group of 14 year old girls can make? They talked nonstop. They laughed, they giggled, they yelled. They shrieked. They burst into spontaneous, at-the-top-of-their-lungs songs. Even during the movies, there was nonstop commentary and sharing of opinions.

I don't think they ever slept. I collapsed about 1 am. Every time I woke up after that to check on them, they were just sort of roaming up and down the hall, giggling. My hunsband slept blissfully through it all.

My daughter has a great group of close friends. I don't even know how this has happened really. She's actually sort of popular. She knows way more people than I ever did in elementary or middle school. And so she counts about six or seven girls as truly close friends. That's as many as I've achieved in adulthood. They're an energetic, geeky bunch. They all do well in school. And they LOVE pop culture, especially comic books and movies. They go around quoting comic book heroes to each other, and bits of funny things that they find on YouTube. J's always been quick at memorizing, so she'll recite entire comedic routines back to me, editing out the cuss words as she's no fool, often when it's supposed to be her bedtime and she's trying to distract me and stall. And she's funny too. She's got good delivery and timing. So her whole group of friends is like that. The most popular item of clothing among them is superhero-look shirts with actual capes attached. J has Wonder Woman, Robin, Supergirl, and Batman. Maybe more.

This has led to a few interesting days this year, where she comes out of her room, dressed to go out, and she is basically wearing an entire costume. Once she pairs one of those caped shirts with a short skirt, red tights, boots and, yes, even wrist cuffs, she looks as if she's in costume and heading to a party. I've actually been embarrassed to be seen with her in public, and I try to ignore the stares as we walk into stores or Starbucks. I just remind myself that teenagers need to be outrageous to create a strong self-identity, and that she could be dying her hair black or cutting it all off, or wanting tattoos. Or something even worse. So I guess superhero emulation is fairly wholesome.


I do not even know how it is possible that J is 14. She is such a ... person now. She's as tall as me. And gorgeous (I think). She's got about a yard of this dense, curly, bright blond billowy hair that only adds drama to her look. She's brilliant and funny, and does well in school (under close supervision). She's a geek who goes to Knowledge Bowl competitions and loves science. And somehow she still has all these friends. Looking at her makes me feel that I've done quite a bit right.

So that's how on Saturday, we wound up with six 14 year olds, and three 11 year olds (the little sisters, for good measure) in our care for almost 24 hours straight. I was never ever so happy to get my house back in order and to have nothing but peace and quiet fill the mostly empty rooms. Even now, it is still lovely to be here alone with everything tidy. And no teen movies blaring.

I don't believe I'm quite ready for the years ahead...

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