Wednesday, August 18, 2010

American Honey

She grew up on the side of the road
Where the church bells ring and strong love grows

She grew up good, she grew up slow

Like American honey

Steady as a preacher, free as a weed
Couldn't wait to get going
but wasn't quite ready to leave

So innocent pure and sweet American honey

Having an abundance of friends with children, I get to learn a lot about different parenting techniques and I get to spend time with their kids, watching their imaginations run wild. This past weekend, I had an incredibly unique experience.

The Children's Ministry Coordinator at my church has a daughter who is 10 years old. I call her daughter H.Stubbs. Well, for the past few weeks now, H.Stubbs has been asking me to come over for a sleepover. Her mother, being an amazing and daring parent, threw out some dates for me to come over and have a sleepover with H.Stubbs and her little sister, E.Stubbs. At first I thought, "Well that's kind of out of the norm. I mean, I'm 28 and I'm going to a sleepover, but I actually think it could be really fun! I haven't had a sleepover in years . . . unless you count friends coming in to town and staying the night. Which, I guess does count. This is gonna be SO cool!" Fast forward a couple of weeks and the sleepover date finally arrived. When I got to their house, her mom told me:

"She's been telling everyone that her best friend is coming over to spend the night. But the funny part, is that she never even mentioned that you weren't 10 years old. And they've already made it clear to me that you're here to see them, not to hang out with me."

We both laughed, and I felt complete awe and wonder at how (1) she called me her best friend, and (2) friendship knew no age limits to her. It was a great feeling. We had a blast too! We swam in their big pool in the backyard as we pretended to be mermaids, Olympic swimmers, and pirates! We spent most of our time in the pool, and I gave them dolphin rides around the pool and showed them how to do the "Wayne's World Fish Face." After swim time, we headed in to the guest bedroom that their parents set up for us. I got a huge bed for myself, H.Stubbs had a large mattress on the ground, and E.Stubbs got to sleep on the couch. We watched Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and laughed so much at all the shenanigans in that movie. I told them I needed to get a ratbird of my own. ;)

After the movie was over, their mom came in and told us it was time for bed. The girls talked her into letting us watch 2 episodes of the Power Puff girls before we called it a night, and so we did. After that, we turned off the TV and had a full-on pillow fight! During our pillow fight, one of the girls said, "Oh no, I think I hear someone coming!" And I said, "Quick!! Get in bed!!" The other sister said, "If she comes in, let's just pretend to be asleep, okay? So you have to pretend to snore!" So we did, and it turned out to be nothing. We continued the pillow fight, and from time to time one of the girls would hear something so we'd jump back in the beds. We finally decided to head to our beds (for real this time) at midnight and E.Stubbs exclaimed, "This is the latest I've EVER stayed up in my WHOLE life!" We congratulated her and then turned in for the evening.

At 8 a.m. Sunday morning, the Smashmouth song, ALL STAR blasted through my laptop speakers to wake me up . . . yes, I actually DO need that kind of motivation to get going in the morning. ;) They woke up as well, and immediately pounced on me singing along and tickling me. Their mom came in a while after to let us know that she and her husband were going to head in to church, as I had told them I would take the girls in with me later so everyone could sleep in a bit. She brought them their clothes and made me a cup of coffee. Then they left, and our morning fun began! We all got dressed for church, had breakfast, and put on makeup. My favorite part was reassuring the girls that they didn't HAVE to put on a ton of makeup to look beautiful because they were already naturally beautiful. We still had fun with lip gloss and blush before we realized it was time to head out ourselves.

On the drive in to church, I played a mix CD I had made for myself and it included the song, AMERICAN HONEY, and after that song played, the girls both requested that I put it on repeat. We drove the entire way to the church (about 30 mins.) blasting that song with the windows down, belting out the words (as best as they knew) at the top of our lungs! I kept looking over at H.Stubbs and thinking, "I hope you never lose sight of the sweet innocence you have now. You are an amazing example for others!"

I got to talk to her grandmother before the service and she really encouraged me to treasure those moments and reminded me that even though my sleepover with the girls might seem preposterous to the world around us, it means THE WORLD to those girls and they will hang on to those memories and those little life lessons for years to come—they needed it as much as I did.

After the church service, we had an all-church BBQ. I ate and connected with friends and then decided I needed to head to Home Depot to pick up the primer so that I could start getting the new youth room painted. H.Stubbs knew I was going and begged me to let her come with me and to help paint. After getting her parent's permission, she made the trip to and fro with me and helped me tape and prime. Throughout the day she kept saying that she needed to find a way to spend more time with me. It was truly one of the sweetest experiences ever—and not just because of her compliment—I was lucky enough to be encouraged by her imagination and her innocence that didn't see me as the full-grown adult that the world tells me I should be. For a day, I got to remember the sweeter things in life, and enjoy spending time with one of the most wonderful friends! And she even made me a super sweet thank you note!

1 comment:

Raw Sugar said...

Oh my goodness. My heart just melted! That is so amazing Amanda. What a great experience for the both of you :D I know without a doubt you are going to make an amazing mom one day!!!