Seven-year-old Stephen slept over at a friend’s house for the first time last night. It was a slumber party–there were a total of four little boys there. We told his friend’s parents not to hesitate to call us should he get a little homesick. We didn’t expect a problem from our Super-Social Stephen, though. Nine times out of ten, he wants to be where the party is. But last night? You guessed it…the tenth time out of ten.

When Marc went to pick him this morning, his friend’s mom reported that she almost had to call us near midnight. Stephen was scared, he told her, and he missed his mom (oh, my heart!). He wanted her to call us to come pick him up. She gently (and correctly) encouraged him to give it ten minutes and see if he might fall asleep–and he did. When he got home he was clearly torn between pride in making it through the night, and embarrassment that he almost didn’t it. We assured him it was okay, and I heard him quietly ask Marc, "Were you scared at your first sleepover?"

Tonight at bedtime, Stephen and I spent some special time cuddling, talking again about last night. I reminded him that anytime he’s afraid, no matter where he is, he never has to be embarrassed about asking Dad and Mom for help. As my assurances sunk in, his mood lightened, and he proudly reported to me that he was "the king of the joke-telling last night", and he replayed for me all the laughs he got. With that, his jovial, confident self was back.

If my kids keep melting my heart at this rate, I’ll be a puddle by the time they leave home.