Anyone notice that kids parties are organized to an extravagant level these days compared to the parties our parents put on for us as children?
The food table would comprise of fruit (which would often get left uneaten), chocolate crackles, cheerios, crinkle chips and rainbow popcorn if your parents were brave enough to deal with the sugar high.
There would be simple party games like pin the tail on the horse, musical chairs and pass the parcel where the only kid that got something was the kid who opened the last layer at the end.
We still would have the best time, but the parties seemed so much simpler, compared to the themed and styled extravaganzas put on display these days.
I blame Pinterest and our desire to impress but I do have to admit, I admire a themed party. I always acknowledge the work gone in to create the parties because as parents we have been there ourselves and know the amount of sleep lost to ensure every detail is perfect – like ensuring every water bottle has a matching label.
What’s becoming a more alarming trend though are the heartbreaking stories of parties with no shows or RSVPS.
As a parent, I can not read these stories without getting a tear in my eye.
No one likes to feel rejected, so I can only imagine how devastating it is to be the only one present at your own Birthday party.
It’s heartbreaking for a child, but I think it breaks a parent’s heart even more.
Kirsten Layne, the blogger behind Life on Peanut Layne, shared how this devastating event happened to her 9 year old son, Mahlon. She had promised Mahlon he could have ‘his first real party with friends’ since he had started attending a public school after being home schooled.
The mother and son planned a Diary of a Wimpy kid themed party as it was Mahlon’s favourite book.
Invitations were sent out and Layne never heard back from any of the parents, but assumed kids would still attend as a similar thing happened earlier that month for her daughter’s party.
“Nobody seems to RSVP these days,” her husband said. “Don’t worry, they’ll come. Kids love birthday parties.”
But not one child showed up to the party.
“Words cannot describe the utter and complete devastation that washed over me, my husband and my nearly 70-year-old father, who was almost brought to tears himself,” she later wrote on her blog. “Seeing my heartbroken little boy sitting all alone at his brightly decorated, empty party table was more than I could take.”
Layne tried to comfort her son and decided to share this important message with parents all over, “It could’ve all been avoided by a simple RSVP, via phone call, text, email, whatever, etc. I know I will definitely never ignore those four little letters ever again. Parents or caregivers, please, I beg you not to ignore it either.”
Since writing her post, parents have shared their own heartbreaking tales of organizing birthday parties for their kids and having no one show up.
Even though Mahlon was disappointed with the outcome of his party, his birthday wasn’t a complete disappointment. Jeff Kinney, author of Diary of a Wimpy kid, found out about the party and gave Mahlon a virtual tour of his office via FaceTime.
The family have also been overwhelmed by strangers sending them cards and gifts.
The rules of engagement when your child is invited to a party is to always send a message to the RSVP number acknowledging if your child can attend or not. In a world where we have a number of apps and technology that allow us to keep in contact with each other easily, there is no excuse not to send an RSVP.
And for parents who are organizing parties for their little ones, maybe it’s a wake-up call for us to interact with the parents of our kid’s friends. A simple text to ask if they got the invitation and a request for an RSVP could avoid setting up a party of disappointment.