We tend to look back at our youth with fondness. The simplicity of life, the ease of fun. Without worry we spent our days playing dangerous games in the yard, no matter the season, and we spent our nights at sleepovers as often as we could manage to con our parents into it.
There would be a phone call. "Ask your mom," someone would say. And if we got a positive answer, we would then attempt to turn a simple sleepover into a slumber party. There would be other calls, trying to gather as many friends as our parents would allow, knowing full well that with every agreement they would lose another hour of sleep.
We did the typical things, I think. Mixed flavors of pop, watched TV until the static came on, gave fashion shows, took magazine quizzes and played games to figure out which boy we were destined to marry. We slept in sleeping bags on the floor and usually forgot to brush our teeth.
Was it simple? Was it easy? Has it changed?
Nowadays, with the parental shoe on my own foot, I hear the word "sleepover" and I cringe. Not that all sleepovers (or slumber parties) are bad, but here are some things that make me a big old meanie parent when it comes to these nocturnal soires.
The electronics. Sure, I could be really mean and not let anyone bring them (or my kid take theirs), but knowing that today's teen pretty much needs one in order to communicate and entertain, it's necessary. Not to mention how he or she will contact parents to get home in the morning; totally saves me, a non-morning person, some work.
The access to all things in the world. Not only handheld electronics, but our children know how to work our television better than we do. I have to force myself to do extra tech savvy detective work to make sure all viewing is appropriate now that we don't have the National Anthem and static telling them to go to bed.
The infamous All-Nighter. I'm not sure who is passing out badges or trophies for staying up all night, but if I find someone who actually is, I will make sure they get to spend the next two days with zombie children who think they can function without sleep.
The sleepless nights ... for me. I keep thinking I'll get over it, but I still can't sleep until everyone is safe and happy and good. (I know this may just do me in when my kids go off to college.) It's hard to care and love and worry enough as is, let alone with other kids and complicated TVs and those memories of easier times.
I'm still waiting for my All-Nighter trophy to arrive.