I wipe the sweat off my face, and sit down on one of the dining-room chairs I just carried down the stairs. Still two more chairs and a lamp to go, and then everything I put in storage on the attic last Friday, is back where it belongs.

It didn’t seemed so much work on Friday. As I think back, the entire dining-room was empty in a blink and a nod, just like Barbara Eden in ‘I dream of Jeannie’.


But there was a slight difference off course in comparison with today. Last Friday I was high on adrenaline, wanted to do any and everything to make this sleepover we were about to have, a very special one.


I was so excited!


My nephew Dante was coming for a sleepover. Our first sleepover tryout was with his sister Angel in August. And when he heard she could come, he immediately said to his mom; ‘I wanted to sleepover at aunty Joyce and uncle Ramon for a-aaaaages, and you said it couldn’t! And now Angel is going first!’

My heart made little jumps of joy to hear he wanted to be with us so badly, but it also made me a little sad, we weren’t able to do this all these years earlier of his life.


But when I told him a few weeks back, we set a date with his mom for the next sleep over, and it was going to be with him, he jumped around my neck and hugged me tight. ‘Really aunty Joyce?! I am so happy!!’ And when I asked if he would like to join us to Lego World when he comes for a sleepover, he said the cutest thing ever. ‘Lego World?? Really??? That’s my biggest dream and greatest wish. Oh, aunty Joyce…. How many nights do I have to sleep until we go?’


It was way too many nights and days of waiting. Even for me. But now it finally was there. We wanted to do something completely different than we did with Angel. And the best idea hit me when I talked to my mother on the phone a couple of days prior to the sleepover.


We haven’t got a guestroom. So the best place to put a bed is in the dining-room. That’s where Angel slept as well. But Dante is a totally different kid, and likes to be on his own to relax. So… we set up a tent in the dining-room.



And to make it complete, we made an indoor campsite.



I couldn’t wait to see his reaction. Maybe he would think this was completely deranged. Mental even. He ís nine years old after all.

What are you going to do if he doesn’t want to sleep in the tent?’’ Ramon asked.

Ha!! Then I will sleep in the tent!!! Have you seen how immensely cool this is??? How could anyone nót want to sleep in here??? Super-duper cozy, with the garlands of starry lights hanging above your head, and the soft bed with new linens. Just like my fantasy tent I always wanted to build with blankets when I was a little girl.



Dante’s face was a little tense when we picked him up. He clearly was a bit nervous. But when he saw the tent in the empty dining-room, his face lit up. ‘Oh my gosh, this is so cool!!!! Just for me??’ He zipped it open, and immediately lie down. ‘I love it!!!’



But what he loved even more was the Logo World event. For four hours straight, he walked, gazed,



and build all kinds of creations at the many pools of Lego-blocks.



His cheeks glowed brightly red. After three hours he only once said he was tired, but when we told him we just wanted to see the Star Wars section, he stretched his back, and showed us the way after he and Ramon checked the map.



We got to enjoy the most beautiful little boy.



We got to experience his silly dance-moves when he was happy, we got to experience his gratefulness, his awareness of the value of money, how unbelievably concentrated he can be for hours to build his Lego dragon all on his own. (But really wanted Ramon to join him as ‘The Page-turner’ while he was building.)



How he loves to have moments all by himself;




talking, humming songs, retrieving in his own little world…



just like I did when I was a kid. I loved how he wanted to help me with any and everything, even baking the bread together the next morning.

And I loved to hear him laugh, even his fake laugh when he pretended to crack up at some of our jokes that were obviously ‘old-people’ jokes, but he didn’t want to hurt our feelings.

I loved the interaction between Ramon and Dante, as two guys doing their thang, but still a little boy when he asks for a hug because he feels so happy.

And I love how he poses in character for my one-hundred thousand billion gazillionth time I ask him for a picture I want to take of him, even though he hates it.



This really was a weekend to remember, and I can’t wait to do it over and over again. Even with paying the price of this f***ing exhaustion and immense pain in every part of my body. I’m just so very thankful I still can enjoy these moments and this beautiful little boy that is my nephew.