Remember slumber parties?
Pigtailed and glassy-eyed, as little girls we giggled into the night in our best PJs. We pulled out our flashlights under the covers and told funny stories, gorged ourselves on candy and soda, then stayed up late because it was just so thrilling.
The young-adult versions were still fun. They included movies, talking, crazy games and, of course, pizza.
My latest slumber-party experience was the best ever. I hosted an overnight event that included Grandma P., an 82-year old widow, Sara (not her real name), a 40-plus divorcee, me, mid-30s, and Zipphora, a 29-year-old newly engaged woman.
We settled down in the living room when our stomachs were full of seafood and sweet drinks. After a round of lighthearted questions, we began to talk freely and laugh. Grandma P. gave us advice on love and marriage.
“Put on a soft glove, even when you’re arguing,” she said. “Prepare a man for a serious discussion by doing something sweet for him first.”
Then, “Keep it fun! You don’t have to be serious all the time!” she said.
While white candles burned on the coffee table, we reclined on couches and shared accounts of botched romances, enchanted travel trips and the like. As I began to doze, Grandma P. told me firmly to go to sleep. Reluctant to beat an 82-year-old to dreamland, I protested, but finally went off to bed.
She soon followed suit, leaving our fellow party companions awake to linger in chatter, photo swapping, and secret-telling.
Morning came in quiet sunlight, and we feasted on sweet bread, fresh fruit, cream and hot tea.
Zipphora prepared to go for a morning bike ride with her fiancé, and Grandma P. teased, “Please let us see him before you leave.”
Later, when he stepped inside, Grandma P. threw her arms out gleefully, “I know him! Girl, you’ve got a good man!”
Zipphora and her man smiled proudly before escaping.
Still in our nighties, the rest of us continued our conversations, turned now to more serious talk of life’s disappointments, frustrations, and confusing moments. We lamented our mistakes, regrets and wishes for the wisdom.
Grandma P. began to speak about forgiveness. “Forgiveness is like a resurrection,” she said. I pondered this deeply, that our regrets could be buried and something completely new could spring from their perpetual rest. We could lay them down and move on.
The freedom of this was staggering. By the time we dissolved the party, Sara remarked, “I felt I had been in something like a trapped room, and now I see the doorway out.”
I was feeling thoroughly encouraged and centered.
Zipphora felt enlightened by practical wisdom, and remarked, “Those were great stories.”
Grandma P., who was tired the day before, was invigorated. We parted ways in a flurry of hugs and kisses and promises of yet another slumber party. Tomorrow night wouldn’t be too soon.