Sophie had her first sleepover at my house last night. She packed her own bag, remembering her toothbrush and floss (father's child) and favorite blanket, snuggle pet and pillow. She put three books in her night bag but I barely read through one, The Littlest Angel, while she nodded off next to me on my bed. It was fun to finally have her sleep over and share private time the same way another granddaughter and grandmom did over 30 years ago.
Because of all the snow, I didn't pick her up in a car. Instead, I walked up to get her and we walked back down the snowy streets, looking for stars in the dark still night and watching our breaths form whispy clouds as we talked. There we were, two eskimos, bundled up and holding hands. The simplest things take on new meaning when you share them with a child.
She spied my seashells in the bedroom and I told her to choose the shells she'd like to add to her own collection. She had to examine each one closely and decide if the color, size and texture fit the bill. I had to find a metal box and by the time she left there were many new treasures in her possession.
Awaking from a good night's sleep, she worried that she disturbed me in bed. Did she roll over and wake me up? Would I have her back? I told her she was a perfect guest and sound sleeper, except for a brief giggle in the middle of the night which probably came from a happy dream. Eyebrows rose.
"But I didn't dream last night!"
"Maybe you just don't remember."
"At least I don't walk in my sleep. That could be dangerous."
She liked that I kept reading The Littlest Angel aloud even after she fell asleep. Yes, I finished the story. The littlest angel had a box of treasures too. The illustrations in the storybook reminded me of another little angel, a boy named Buddy who lived in my house and died in the month of February when he was only 3-4 years old. He belonged to the family whose history is a part of Jenn's house, Mr. Pipe and Mrs. Kitchen's domain. This was their little grandson. How odd that I found a house with a connection to the ghosts in my daughter's house. Sophie knows all about the Richmond ghosts, has even visited the family plots with her mom. She's also big on "Mother Mary", my dear mom, whom she never knew. She knows, though, that she was named after her - Sophia Mary Rose.
This morning I reach for an old tablecloth (vintage: depression era, my mom's) and throw it on the dining room table, then find my mom's tea cups so Sophie and I can have tea. I tell her that we're drinking from Mother Mary's cups. Sophie likes the white-and-silver pattern. She tells me that staying over was fun and can she do it again? She thinks that Mother Mary tickled her during the night.
I realize that sleepovers are not just for the youngsters. Hearing her sweet voice, watching her delight in sharing my bed and treasures, sipping tea with milk and sugar ("the way Mother Mary used to make it for mommy") all imprint themselves on my tired spirit.
It's a refreshing break from a stressful week - just my cup of tea!