Although we’ve been through the party circuit before, this is the first year that it’s felt really political, exclusionary. Or at least that’s the worst way to interpret it.
For instance, there was a birthday party earlier this year for a kid in my daughter’s class. Of course the kid was talking about it. Of course the kid invited some other kids from the class. Of course my daughter wasn’t one of them. Of course she didn’t realize that.
Faced with her mounting excitement over the prospect of cake, we had to break it to her that she wouldn’t be going to THE PARTY OF THE CENTURY, or however she had blown it up in her head. She didn’t understand. Why couldn’t she go?
Why couldn’t she go?
There are lots of reasons why she might not have been invited, and we had to run through all of them. In part, I felt like we had to run through all of them (limited seating, family only, only one or two friends, (grr) boys only (grr)) in order to keep her from having a terrible opinion of the kid or the parents, so we tried to make sense of a non-invitation in a way that made things nice and neat.
In part, I felt like we had to run through all of them in order to keep her from having a terrible opinion of herself.
The reality is, not everyone gets invited to every party. The reality is, sometimes people don’t like you as much as you think they do. The reality is, sometimes choices have to be made for reasons other than who is awesome.
The reality is, my daughter insisted we invite everyone in her class when her birthday came around.
So, we have 30 kids coming to her birthday party this weekend.
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(Note: Because this is the Internet, I ought to have predicted people to misread, or half-read, this post and take it to mean a whole host of things it doesn’t. I didn’t predict it, and so I didn’t put up any big disclaimers to head off these kinds of straw-man criticisms before they were made, so they’re down in the comments section if you’d like to read some. My favourites are the charges that I’m advocating a policy of inviting everyone in the class, and that I didn’t use this as a learning opportunity for my daughter to understand how, legitimately, not everyone gets to do everything. Keep on keeping on, Internet. You’re hilarious.)
(Note Note: Although I understand the compulsion we all have when someone shares a parenting decision on the Internet, we’re not really all in this together. This is not a committee.)