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Make it to the Party

By Angie Simonson, blogger
advice-unsolicited.blogspot.com

For the second time this winter one or more of my kids was invited, with many others, to another child’s party. They
ended up being the only friend(s) to attend, and it made me wonder: how often does no one show up to a little one’s party?

Before Christmas, the mom of a birthday girl pulled me aside when I came to pick up my daughter and thanked me for letting her come, saying even the girl’s best friend, who said she was coming, didn’t show up.

In late February, our whole family was invited for an afternoon of snowmen and sliding fun, on what happened to be the most perfect winter day, and we were the only family to make it. Luckily, when my family shows up and does our clown car exit routine, where four little people jump out one door of the vehicle one after another it seems like the party arrived. The little host was happy to see her friends, got to show us around, and when it was time take a break from playing she showed us where to get hot cocoa and proudly handed out her homemade cupcakes. It was a wonderful afternoon.

I could ask why people don’t show up, but I already know. Of course, some have other events, school sports and work keeping them busy – but even for those who don’t, it’s hard to find time in the day to chauffer your kids to and from parties, in my rural area it’s not uncommon for it to be a 50 minute round trip. It’s also hard to give up a weekend afternoon, even in the name of family fun. The laundry is piled up, the living room needs dusting, you’ve got errands to run, and the couch and a new book are calling your name. All these “reasons” to not go crossed my mind too. People have a knack for filling their waking hours to the minute, we’re busy, we’re productive, and we’re proud of it.

You can’t read a women’s magazine or watch a show like The View or The Doctors without hearing how we “need” to make more time for ourselves, we need to learn to say “no”, and “me time” isn’t selfish, it rejuvenates us to handle all the other chores in your day. But when our crammed calendars or well-deserved relaxation time leaves a child alone and sad at their own party, well, that’s nothing to be proud of.

Imagine if no one came to your kid’s party, how do you explain that? How do you fix their heartbreak, and your own? What’s going through that sweet kiddo’s head? They spent days planning, and hoping, and being excited for a party that didn’t happen. How could “they” do that to your child? Have you done it without even realizing? Most kids won’t turn down a party, so it’s us busy, selfish parents that are the party poopers.

The next time you find a little envelope in your child’s school folder, with their name written in shaky elementary penmanship, imagine that little party planner spending an afternoon writing out those invites, looking to see how to spell their friends names and carefully sealing every envelope before proudly and excitedly putting them in their backpack for distribution.

The laundry can wait, the errands can be done later, and you weren’t really going to dust the living room anyway, take an afternoon to make a little kid’s day. “Me time” is overrated, being generous with your time feels so much better. Your kid’s attendance will make their friend’s day. And, hopefully their busy parents will return the favor when your kid has a party.