Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Liliana Drew

Mommy liked having sleepovers sometimes.
I told her that my room didn’t count,
that sleepovers were at your friend’s house
where you ate dinners you’d never heard of
and devoured their stash of popcorn and m&ms
while watching movies until hours past your bedtime.
But she insisted it was an adult sleepover,
since she was in a bed that wasn’t her own
and I was her bestest friend in the world.

When daddy was away, we planned great parties
to make him jealous.
We baked cookies with extra chocolate chips
and danced to Hannah Montana songs
in our matching pink onesies
and stayed up till three telling ghost stories.
I always woke with a smile and bounded upstairs
to tell daddy all about the adventures he’d missed,
if he was there.

I don’t know why daddy always stayed in his office so long,
when he could have been having all this fun.
But he didn’t like sleepovers anyway.
He claimed sleepovers weren’t for dads like him,
but I think it’s because he didn’t have a pink onesie
to fit in with us.

Even if daddy was home, mommy came
in the middle of the night sometimes.
Barely conscious, I could feel her wrap
her lavender-scented arms around me
and press her damp cheek against my hair
(she always washed her face before bed).
I always reminded her that she had her own sleeping bag
in the corner from all the parties we planned,
but she liked being in my bed when she came so late.

I haven’t told any of my friends about our sleepovers.
They’d think it’s weird, and I should probably grow
out of sleepovers like everyone else,
but sleepovers are our precious little secret,
a night of happiness without care,
just between my mother and I.

Recently mommy decided that we should move
our sleepovers to the hotel by the river.
Usually we only get to go to the hotel for christmas,
when grandma and grandpa come and
we get pancakes at the morning buffet.
It’s like magic every day,
waking up in a white fluffy bed
that I never have to make on my own.

I wish daddy would join us in our sleepovers,
but mommy reminds me that
he doesn’t like sleepovers
and he wants to be alone for a while.
I’m worried something’s wrong,
but mommy assures me that someone named Marissa
will make sure he’s okay.
I’ll just tell him all about my sleepovers
when we finally go home.