A few months ago, my best pal and I—both mothers, both wives, both people with 9 to 5s that demand more like 9 to 10s—had a sleepover. A slumber party. An evening we had reserved to sit in a hotel room together and revert back to the best, dorkiest versions of our elementary school selves. There were face masks, laugh snorts, cheesy matching pajama sets. There was an alarming amount of candy, an even more alarming amount of bubbly, and enough fun, love, and heart-to-hearts to refill us for the next leg of our busy, sometimes mundane, largely insane, splendid lives.
I left feeling tired, faintly hungover, and wondering why we don’t do this more often. When did we—the collective “we” that includes all grown-ish women—get too old for slumber parties? I thought and thought and thought about this and arrived at a conclusion that I refuse to believe: that we just—ta-da!—outgrew them.
Think back with me, way back to your best memories of sleepovers—those minutes have likely been kept with a museum-like pristineness in your cognitive retention. Sure, there’s the truth or dares, the time you snuck your first R-rated movie, but it’s the exchange of knowledge about the inner chambers of who we are, who we were scared to be, and who we couldn’t help but be that tends to serve as the punctuation for those nights, bundled up in sleeping bags. New crushes, troubles at home, the juicy, “I’ve never told anyone this before, but” confessions. Maybe the trouble with growing older is that these announcements need to be coaxed out, with the promise of not being the first to fall asleep or the reassurance that there are tons of people in the world who have to wear a retainer to bed. Maybe the trouble is that we can’t cram these subjects into a tidy square of time we assign to a happy hour or brunch. They demand a sprawl of hours—the kind that can be unfolded and spread out, lazy and unhurried.
Here’s the thing, though—we as women, regardless of age or responsibility, never stop needing that kind of closeness with the people we love. And those aren’t just words I decided to type to fill space, those are words straight from professionals with hefty, long titles, like psychologists and sociologists—they tell us we crave this stuff, that we need it. The reason I left that sleepover feeling all hopped up on happy is because I was, truly. When we’re able to dodge vague generalities about work and be less skimpy with all the obligatory life details, we can get to a level of closeness, which, for women, is usually measured by the exchange of information. The more stories we share with one another, and the more intimate those stories are, the closer we feel. And I don’t know about you, but I like that about us.
Here’s the thing, though—we as women, regardless of age or responsibility, never stop needing that kind of closeness with the people we love… The more stories we share with one another, and the more intimate those stories are, the closer we feel. And I don’t know about you, but I like that about us.
So, if you’re reading this and thinking fondly of your best friend, your sisters, or your college roommates, call them up (just kidding, text, you weirdo) and propose a slumber party. Yes, they’re busy. Yes, you’re busy. Yes, who but you will remember that Max needs to be dropped off at his play date with shoes that match? But, I promise, your life will be better for it, if you riot against healthy sleep schedules and routine for just one night, and part of one day. Take all of those happy hours and brunches and coffee dates you’ve got planned and pour them into time that feels downright indulgent with some of the most important characters in your life.
April (Swinson) Smasal spent her formative years in Wyoming, where her career options were limited to rodeo queen or writer. Foregoing the lure of an impressive belt buckle collection, she opted for the word thing. Now, she’s a copywriter and writer-writer living in St. Paul, Minnesota with her husband, Nick, baby boy, Hank Danger and very cute-slash-spoiled French Bulldog, Arnold E. Biscuits.
BY April (Swinson) Smasal - June 17, 2019
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.