Birthday Parties: When Your Child Isn’t Invited
It’s happened before. I’ve caught wind of a birthday party that my daughter wasn’t invited to. Facebook especially has a way of letting the cat of the bag on these things. However, until recently, the lack of a party invite was never this blatant to my daughter. A few weeks ago she came home from school very excited about her close friend’s birthday party on Sunday. This upcoming Sunday? I definitely didn’t see an invitation for this.
My immediate reaction was to be honest and tell my daughter I hadn’t seen an invite for this particular party. I explained that it was probably a small party, just a few friends or that maybe there wasn’t a party at all. But my daughter came home on two more occasions with a similar story and more details. What the party would entail, who was going and yes, that I clearly missed the invitation according to her friend – a friend she’s known for two years. Four days before the party, with more insistence from my daughter that she was invited, I decided maybe I did miss something.
So, I emailed the mom. Yes, I actually emailed the mom (gasp!). I explained that my daughter (and the birthday girl) had insisted we missed the invitation. I didn’t tell her I knew who was coming or where they were going or all the little details. I just said that I didn’t want to be rude and not RSVP. After I sent the email my stomach was in knots for hours. Did I do the right thing? Maybe I should have waited for her to email me and ask if we were coming? Did I make this more awkward? I didn’t want her to feel like she needed to invite my daughter.
Several hours later I heard back from the mom and in fact there was no “party” she explained but rather her daughter and a couple friends were going to the movies to celebrate her birthday. She explained with it being so close to Christmas, having a big party was just too much. She apologized that her daughter had been so vocal about the celebration and that they had a talk about not discussing her upcoming movie trip at school, particularly with those not invited. I appreciated her email, her understanding why this would be so hard for my daughter to grasp. And frankly, while she didn’t say it, I appreciate her understanding how the other girls in the class would feel. And that’s all a mom can ask for.
I’ve always invited all the girls from my daughter’s class to our birthday parties but after this year, with 18 girls invited (and an expensive party to show for it), I decided that this would be the last year I’d do that. However, now being on the other side of the fence, I will try my hardest to talk to my daughter ahead of time about discussing her future parties openly at school. Perhaps she will listen, perhaps she will not. With this experience under our belts and the sadness she felt as a result, I hope it’s a good, hard lesson about keeping birthday party plans on the down low.
Bright Birthdays: Share Your Child’s Birthday Photos & Win
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- E-family news: Planning Your Child’s Birthday Party without the Stress
- Bright Horizons Online Community: Inviting Classmates to a Birthday Party
- Read more posts about birthdays from the Family Room bloggers