I wasn't going to write this. But I am. For all the parents that didn't get a birthday party invite. For all those that wondered 'why' not their little one. For all those that were simply not invited.
Photo credit: Sofiya Levchenko
I'm not sure if it's a generation thing, but I was always brought up to be inclusive, especially when it came to my birthday parties at school. It's important to mention that back then classes weren't huge. They were smallish. And this may also have played a part in this way of thinking. But in any case, back then it wasn't acceptable to hold a birthday party and invite 'some' of the class. It was everyone or no one. Or more specifically, it was a whole class party or a small discreet lunch out with maybe 2 or 3 very close friends. Fact.
This has always stuck.
As I was growing up, there was never any reason to question this. I invited everyone to my birthday parties. They came. I was invited to everyone's birthday parties. I went. Yes it was hectic, and some months there were parties back to back. But that's how it was. Even through my teenage years, no one was ever left behind as they say.
But now it's different. Or is it?
It's not fair on anyone to be specific, but there have been a few times where my little one has been left out recently. Not by vague class mates, but by those she considers friends. Now, logically speaking, it's just a children's party. But tell that to a four year old who has to walk past all her friends celebrating (out in the open) across the road from our home. Where, inevitability she would of course see them. #Awkward.
She's one of the kindest little people I know, who gets on with everyone, so I have been wondering is it me? Is it my fault she was left out? Is it because I'm the #awkward one? I've even gone as far as wondering if it's my blogs fault, because people tend to be extra cautious around writers and journalists.
It feels very raw at the moment, because somewhere along the line she has picked up my sense for being inclusive. I should say OUR inclusiveness, because it's a whole family trait. She doesn't understand why she would include someone left out of a game, or check on someone feeling a bit 'meh' and by themselves. Yet, not an eyelid would be battered for her to be left out of a class celebration.
It's a tough one, and one I'm not all that comfortable with.
At this very moment, my little one is planning her (super) early birthday party before the end of Summer term. So, she can invite everyone in her current class to her party, before leaving for big school. All 20 something of them. She may not be the loudest of the bunch, but her heart is in the right place, and she wouldn't want anyone to feel sad for not being invited to something, even if they couldn't or didn't want to come.
A couple of months ago we would have been happy to blow the budget to be able to be 'inclusive'. We're not so sure anymore, worried that we are making our little one vulnerable for having this personality trait and sending the wrong message to her. We're in a bit of a pickle.
But right now 'not invited' isn't in my little ones vocabulary, and I'm proud of her for this.