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2004-12-03 - 6:50 p.m.

My oldest daughter turns 13 this month and to commemorate the occasion (and also because the husband is out of town) I agreed to let her have a slumber party. This is her first so and likely to be one of the only so I wanted to make it special for her. I got a bunch of frozen pizzas, chips, soda, and movies etc. for the girls. So far there are 9 of them here.

As I was heating the pizza I was listening to the girls chatter and for a moment I got a glimpse of the past. They sound like a cluster of birds and when one laughs they all chime in as though some French fries have been tossed at a flock in front of a McD*nalds. They wiped out the food in about 10 seconds flat. Yea, girls will do that too. And then one approached me and timidly asked, Can we make prank calls? I looked into all those big hopeful eyes and into my daughters pleading eyes that begged me to please, please, please, be cool for just one night and said, Yea, go ahead. My daughter owes me BIG time.

I have to say it has been so amusing listening to them. I have had to chuckle at some of their calls to the boys. My favorites so far have been by the girl Ill call Apu (like the slushee guy from Simpsons) for doing a dead on accent and say, You kicked my dog, you bad person. You come to my house and kick my dog! Why do you do theeese tings to my dog? And it turned out to be the Dad of the house who answered and luckily had a sense of humor. The other was a girl Ill call squeaky for her mousy little voice who called and said; This is 31 flavors Ice Cream giving you 31 seconds to list all 31 flavors for 31,000 dollars. Ill give you a hint Chocolate chip cookie doughhhhhhh. I know it seems kind of immature but they are just girls having fun. I listened to them talking about boys and who likes who and what girl thinks shes all that and who is annoying and so on. But their laughter, thats what I like hearing the most filled with their youth and innocence. And seeing the big smile on Kels face as she laughs with them lets me know Im doing all right as a parent.

At 13, Id already been through a lifetime. Id already been hurt. Id already seen things a girl shouldnt. Id already had sex, been raped, and been introduced to drugs. Id already had to go to work at a grill in a food truck. Id experienced the beginnings of a long, long road to hell and back at 13. I was past a slumber party by then. Id lost my youth. I know who has helped to sculpt me into who I am today so I dont look back with regret.

I look at my daughter and know that she will never know that road. No time soon anyway. She will grow into a fine, strong young woman. I envy her although I am happy that she can have this time in her life. And although Ill probably have a few parents a little peeved at me by tomorrow, I do so love to hear those birds sing.

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