A [camping] birthday party sleepover!
Today I'd like to pay tribute to two people. The first is my friend N, mother of four children, owner of a big house, a fair whack of land and multiple animals. She has energy to burn, a lot of love to give, and a very soft heart for my son Bright Eyes.
It may have begun when Bright Eyes walked right up to her husband one day at the pool a couple of years ago. At this time, N and her family were living in a shed while they built their house.
Bright Eyes said this: "Excuse me Mr S. Are you a peasant? Because you live in a shed."
So, you see, she loves him.
And she invited him to her 10 year old son's birthday party. A sleepover birthday party. A *camping* sleepover birthday party!
Ten boys were invited, all from Bright Eyes' class, and my son was uber excited. "I'll manage it!" he said when I told him they were camping out. It was something I was worried about because he avoids the outdoors at all costs. But apparently it was going to "be fine".
My friend N kept an eye on him during the party. He played the games, roasted marshmallows, went on a bush walk (!!!!) and bounced on the trampoline. She headed off his requests to play the Wii and didn't take no for an answer when everyone else was going down to the creek for a swim this morning.
"I felt a bit stressed when he looked to be on the outer socially with the other boys," she said, "but I just had to say, 'he's okay, that's what he does'."
So, snaps for my friend N, who took a risk and opened her heart and invited the 'difficult', unpopular child on what could have been a reasonably fraught event. What a woman!
Snaps also for Bright Eyes himself, who coped admirably. Not only with sleeping over, but with camping, someone else's house, going on bushwalks and swimming in a cold creek in his clothes. In fact, he more than coped. He enjoyed himself. He's come home from parties before saying, "Huh! Parties are fun in the beginning but boring at the end." But not this time. Well done, flexible and brave child!
[We await tomorrow though. He ate a little bit of stuff he shouldn't have plus he was the ringleader of the little group that managed to stay up until 3.30am. Yes, you read that right. A.M. For a child who got precisely 2.5 hours sleep, he's done well today. But it's always the day after the event that's worse...]