When my sons were little, their birthday parties were insane. I mean, I was THE Pinterest-y birthday party mom! The theme was evident throughout every aspect of the party – the invitations, the decorations, the games, the food! They were nauseatingly adorable, every single one of them. I made up invitations for every kid in their classes, baseball teams, Scouts, plus all the family and friends who were always invited to everything. I would spend a ridiculous amount of time and money on them (most of them – when we could), and then when they were over I would collapse from pure and utter exhaustion!
The year my oldest turned 9 was the last year of this insanity. We did the whole shebang – invited everyone and their mama (literally), had an awesome theme, and everyone had a blast. Well, ALMOST everyone… until two of the kids at the party got into a fight. These two kids from different sides of my son’s life (one I found out later my son wished had not been invited) clashed – BIG TIME – and it showed its ugly face at his birthday party. Parents were called – they argued in my front room while I tried to keep everyone outside and keep the party going – it was no fun. Then they all went home. It was all over, I thought. We could go on and enjoy the rest of the party! Right? …wrong!
About an hour after everyone left, I’m playing a game with one of the kids on the side of the house when the father of one of the kids comes storming up, turning off the music, lining all the kids in the party up, and fussing at them all… at my house… shutting down my son’s birthday party!! My husband thankfully broke it up, pulled the dad aside and had a chat with him. They went home, and we were done with it.
And you know what else I was done with? BIRTHDAY PARTIES!!! The next year, we didn’t have a party for either of their birthdays – I just couldn’t bring myself to do it again. Then I realized, you know what? That’s not fair to my kids. They didn’t do anything wrong!
But how do I avoid the debacle from that crazy drama-filled party? I decided to limit the number of kids he was allowed to invite, and for the first time ever, I did not tell him he HAD to invite anyone. I made up a few invitations for him to take to school, and HE was 100% in charge of the guest list.
The party was wonderful! Everyone had fun, and my son is still smiling days after, thanking me for letting him have the party he wanted. Mom win! I did something right!!
Apparently, however, by limiting my son’s guest list, there were some that got left off the invite list. I know, I know, that NEVER happens, right?? Well, feelings were hurt. Tears were shed from what I’ve been told. And immediately I felt bad. Should I have made him invite his whole class and every member of every activity he’s in like we used to do? Should I have limited the guest list so soon?
I remember a few times in school watching the invites get handed out on the playground only to realize at the end of the stack that there wasn’t one for me. It hurt of course, especially because some of the girls I considered really good friends. But the party happened, I didn’t go, and I lived to tell you the tale today. I’m quite certain we’ve all gone through some sort of “why wasn’t I invited” type situation in our lives, haven’t we? Even as adults!
So as I think back on the whole situation, I have to remind myself that it’s ok that my son didn’t invite yours. He didn’t exclude him on purpose, and just because he didn’t change his mind when asked if your son could be invited, that doesn’t mean he has anything against your son or had any ill feelings toward him at all. It simply means that he’s growing up and deciding who he is and who he wants in his circle.
I couldn’t be prouder of the young man he is becoming. I WISH I had the sense when I was 11 years old to know who was worthy of my friendship and who wasn’t.
So with that, I say, “Sorry, not sorry!” My son has my full support in deciding who to invite to his parties or anything else in the future. It’s my job to raise him and teach him independence, and I’m not going to get anywhere by continuing to limit the decisions he’s able to make.