Like many other moments in my almost 5-year parenting career, I am eating my words, this time regarding birthday parties.
Here’s the thing. Having a kid in school changes things. Birthday parties used to be just family members and friends that I chose for him. As of this year, my son is getting invited to parties of kids in his class, some of whom I don’t even know. So I made a rule – we only go to the parties of the kids that I know, ones that are close friends. Good idea, right? I agree(d).
Because we are sooo busy (not just me, everyone). Everyone has planners. Everyone blocks off their weekends or days-off and reserves them for their most important events. Everyone has to prioritize. It’s life. And we can’t do it all! I acknowledge these things.
And frankly I thought, I am doing these parents-of-kids-I-don’t-know a favor! Think about it, most schools require kids who send birthday invitations to school to invite the entire class. We are talking about 20-30 kids who could TRIPLE your entire birthday budget if they all show up. More money, more cake, more tokens (or whatever your birthday entails) and more noise. HEAVENS. These parents will be so thankful that we didn’t come to their kid’s birthday party because they didn’t really want us there anyway, I bet. That’s what I used to think.
But then I got to thinking, I don’t really know these kids. I volunteer in the classroom and I know what they look like, but I don’t know the first thing about them. MAYBE they aren’t close friends with my son because they have trouble making friends at all. MAYBE they absolutely adore my son as a friend and he just doesn’t realize it because they don’t express things the same way. MAYBE the parents are totally fine with all 30 kids showing up. And MAYBE everyone else is thinking the way I was previously so NO ONE shows up to these birthday parties.
I bawled. Boo-hooed. Sobbed. Thinking about a sweet little kid having absolutely no friends from their class show up to their party. How devastated would my sweet boy be if he invited his entire class to his party and not a one of them showed up?? After having a good cry I decided to change my rule.
Because every child deserves to have a memorable and happy birthday.
Because they only have birthday parties like this for a short time.
Because I want to teach my son kindness and unity within his school.
Because how freaking epic of a party would it be if all 30 classmates showed up??
Because this is what I would want for MY kid.
So I have a NEW rule. We will party as much as we can and treasure every invitation we receive. We won’t overload our schedules or overcommit or make our lives hectic beyond healthy (because that isn’t right either), but we will do our very best. Every child deserves to be celebrated. So We. Will. Party.