As parents, one of our greatest fears is our kids being bullied, or excluded from the circle. It’s why we often put up with them playing with that one “aggressive” kid down the street who always wants to wrestle. Or the mean girl next door who gossips. We hope they’ll grow out of these friends and move on, but for now, at least our kids have someone. And it’s this fear, this hope that our kids feel wanted, that causes our hearts to break when we hear that a child had a birthday party and no one showed up.
Can you imagine no one — not one single kid — attending? Maybe you can, because it happened to you as a child, or maybe it has happened to your own son or daughter.
My children haven’t personally been through this themselves, but that may be because of our unique birthday celebrations. Because of our children’s personalities and birthdays that are close to Christmas, we haven’t done the “traditional” birthday party thing yet. Instead, we usually invite one or two friends to join us for a fun day out and see a movie, go bowling, and have pizza. There is no awkward time of waiting for RSVPs, as we coordinate the date and time with the other parent(s) involved.
But for kids who do choose a traditional birthday party, complete with games, goodie bags, a theme, and decorations, they may fear that when the clock strikes “party time”, no one is there. This sad reality happened recently to a 12-year-old boy named Aaron Alambat from Rancho Cucamonga, California, who hosted an epic Stranger Things-themed birthday bash — with no guests.
In a viral tweet that’s been shared over 58,000 times, Aaron’s older sister Ayen shared some images of the party decorations — a Stranger Things cake, Demogorgon blood punch, and even Aaron himself, ready to enjoy his party in a t-shirt that read, “The World is Turning Upside Down.”
Eight friends were invited, but as Ayen says in her tweet, “none of their punk selves showed up.”
Did your heart just break in half? Mine, too.
As a good big sister who clearly has her little brother’s back, Ayen tells Babble that Aaron is “really into Stranger Things” (we figured as much!) as well as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
“During the party he was waiting outside our house looking for any possible classmates but no one showed,” she says. “At first we was sad but fortunately our family comforted him.”
And as seen in images shared on her Twitter account, Ayen’s little brother does seem okay. He smiles as he blows out his birthday candles, and says that as payback, if his classmates invite him to their parties, he won’t go.
However, who knew that sharing this devastating birthday news would go viral and earn Aaron instant fame? And new friends in the form of the ACTUAL Strangers Things cast?! The Alambats certainly didn’t!
None other than Millie Bobby Brown herself — who plays Eleven on the hit Neflix series — tweeted back to Ayen, saying, “What!!! Oh well you can let them all know that everyone on behalf of Stranger Things would’ve come! I think you’re awesome and next year I could like an invite … Please?”
To which Ayen replied (in all caps (of course), “AARON LOVES YOU. AND THE WHOLE CAST.”
And then, fellow cast member Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin Henderson, added his own tweet that read, “Count me in too! I’ll bring the chocolate pudding.”
Other Stranger Things actors chimed in too, including Shannon Purser and Cara Buono, who both tweeted their support for the 6th-grader.
Who’s the coolest kid in middle school now, boys? I’ll bet next year’s party will have a waiting list a mile long.
In the end though, I hope parents and kids everywhere take note — fame is cool and all, but no one deserves this kind of treatment from their peers. Send an RSVP, or just go. You might end up attending the coolest party ever, and you’re being a good friend.