As soon as Kathy handed out the invitations to her birthday celebration, a buzz of excitement spread through Mrs. Clyde’s second grade classroom. Up till then, the girls weren’t sure that their mothers had OK’d the kind of party that Kathy had asked her mother for. The girls could hardly wait for recess, when they could fully discuss plans for the upcoming slumber party.
Once outside, the girls clustered around the jungle gym and chattered enthusiastically about the games they’d play and the goodies they would eat at Kathy’s party.
Outwardly, Trisha appeared to be as excited as her friends. She nodded her blond head and giggled with the rest about how much fun they’d have. But on the inside, Trisha wasn’t feeling very happy. With the news of Kathy’s party, a little seed of worry had formed in the pit of her stomach. The more she thought about the party, the bigger the worry grew.
A slumber party meant spending the night—the whole night—at Kathy’s house. And what Trisha didn’t want any of her friends to know was that she was afraid of the dark. Trisha didn’t know any other seven year olds who were afraid to go to sleep in the dark, and she was sure that Kathy and her other friends would laugh at her.
On the walk home from school Wednesday afternoon, talk turned once again to Kathy’s party. Trisha didn’t say much, thinking and wishing with all her heart that Friday would never come. When she entered the bright, yellow kitchen at home, she was greeted by the warm smell of her mother’s peanut butter cookies. She didn’t feel much like eating, though.
Noticing with a bit of concern that her daughter didn’t go for the usual finger tastes of the sweet dough, Mom said, “I’m sure Kathy will love the gift you got for her. Are you all ready for the party?”
All of Trisha’s worry erupted into anger, and her blue eyes flashed as she responded. “Party! Party! The only thing people can think about is Kathy’s party!” With that, she stormed up to her room. Flopping onto her quilted bedspread, Trisha released the cascade of tears that she had held back for the past couple of hours.
Soon she heard a soft knock at the door, accompanied by her mother’s voice. “Trisha, don’t you want to go to the slumber party?”
Trisha rolled over to look at her mom standing in the doorway. “I do want to go,” she said as she wiped away her tears. “It’s just that …”
“It’s just that what, honey?”
“It’s just that we’ll have to sleep in Kathy’s dark basement.”
A look of understanding came over Mrs. Campbell’s face. “So that’s what’s been bothering you,” she said with a gentle smile. “Well, I’m sure that Kathy’s mother won’t mind leaving a small light on like Daddy and I do. You have nothing to worry about.”
But Trisha thought that she had a lot to worry about. It was one thing for her parents to leave the hall light on until she fell asleep—they never teased her about it—but what would her friends say?
Despite Trisha’s wish, the time for the party did come, and it was a big success. Trisha laughed with others as they got all tangled up in a game of twister, and she even forgot to worry as she ate birthday cake and watched Kathy open her presents. About midnight the girls paraded along the fireplace hearth for a nightwear fashion show. Then it was time to settle down with their blankets and pillows.
Trisha’s heart began to beat faster and faster. She was OK as long as a few girls continued to whisper, but one by one they fell asleep. Trisha felt completely alone in the inky blackness. She stared at the fearsome shapes that seemed to crowd around her. Kathy’s piano in the far corner had grown huge goblin-like appendages, and Trisha was sure that a rustling sound she heard was made by some creepy creature lurking in the shadows, just waiting to pounce on her.
Trisha tried everything she could think of to will herself to sleep. After squeezing her eyes tightly shut and silently reciting the ABC’s backward, she began to think about the Primary lesson Sister Patterson had given last week on prayer. She remembered her teacher saying, “Our prayers can bring comfort and peace when we are troubled.”
Knowing now what she should do, Trisha sat up. She knelt on her green checked sleeping bag and asked Heavenly Father to help her to not be frightened, so she could get to sleep.
Trisha was filled with a warm, calming feeling as she slipped back into her sleeping bag. The next thing she knew, she felt someone tugging at her nightgown sleeve, and she heard Kathy’s voice. “Come on sleepyhead. My mom has breakfast ready.”
Trisha opened her eyes, and a big grin spread across her face as she realized that it was morning and that her mom had been right. She really didn’t have anything to worry about.