‘It could’ve all been avoided by a simple RSVP,’ writes mom after no one shows up to her kid’s birthday party
RSVP. Bet you’ll never ignore those four little letters again after reading this.
A mom of six who goes by the pen name Kristen Layne wrote about her 9-year old son’s recent birthday party on her blog, Life on Peanut Layne. Her son Mahlon was excited to have a birthday party where he got to invite classmates because this was his first year in public school. He’d been home-schooled up until that point and his birthday parties in the past mostly included adult family members and his siblings.
“This ninth birthday was supposed to be his year. His special day. His first real party with friends,” wrote Layne.
Mahlon loves the book series Diary Of A Wimpy Kid. So his mom, who admits she’s lacking in the craft department, ordered custom invites on Etsy, got an edible DOWK cake topper, and made DOWK birthday games with ideas she snagged from Pinterest.
“He handed out multiple invitations to his friends at school, and one from taekwondo and eagerly counted down the days, hours, and minutes until his birthday,” wrote Layne. Ah, the excitement of the impending birthday party – there’s nothing like it. Layne said her son picked out his clothes, cleaned his room, and assembled all of the goody bags for his friends before the party.
“‘Only three more hours until my friends arrive,’ he yelled,” she wrote. “‘This is the happiest day of my life, Momma. I can’t wait until my friends get here!'”
Oh, our hearts. We know that feeling of nervous, excitement, and exhilarating anticipation. As he and his family waited, and waited, an unsettling feeling started to wash over them.
“When the party time came and passed, and none of the party guests were here yet, I started to get a little nervous,” Layne wrote. She continued,”I had asked parents to RSVP on the invitation, but hadn’t received a single reply.”
Layne explains that they’re new in town and have a new baby at home so she hadn’t really had the chance to mingle, meet other parents, and get their phone numbers. She admitted that she expressed concern to her husband the night before the party about the fact that no one had RSVP’d. But her husband said what we’ve all come accustomed to at this point, “‘Nobody seems to RSVP these days. Don’t worry, they’ll come. Kids love birthday parties.'”
Yes, kids do love birthday parties, but apparently parents don’t love RSVPing, which is precisely the problem. We’re not sure why people lost the common decency to let someone know whether or not they could attend a party or event, but it’s plain rude. Just RSVP dammit.
“There is a real child on the other end of the invite, anxious and excited to share their day with their friends. It only takes a minute to make a quick phone call or text to let the party host know your plans,” Layne tells Scary Mommy.
Well, you know where this story is going. Young Mahlon, filled with excitement and anticipation, headed for the streets. He was longingly peering into cars to see if any classmates were in cars of parents who may have gotten lost. He was ready to wave them in and get the party started.
“But no one came. Not a single child,” wrote Layne.
Mahlon’s dad arrived home with pizza expecting to be greeted by birthday kids, frantic with excitement. Instead, he was met with sobs from his very sad son.
“‘No one came Dad. I guess I’m not very popular at school,'” Layne recounted her son’s devastating words in the blog post. OK, daggers. In our hearts. Dead.
Layne said she held it together, hugging and kissing her son, then broke down in the bathroom. Sometimes it’s so damn hard to be strong for our kids in situations like this, and yet somehow we do it. Mahlon wiped the tears and showed the same strength as his mama (even though he shouldn’t have to at that age).
“He opened presents with a big smile on his face, because, well, that’s our boy. Despite his pain, he tried his hardest to have a good time,” wrote Layne.
She said the family ate as much pizza as they could possibly stomach and then went bowling. Mahlon had a good time, but the memory of that disappointment won’t go away. He’ll remember it forever.
The painful and most glaringly obvious lesson in these stories is always: it could’ve been prevented. Yes, if everyone RSVP’s ‘regrets’ to a kid’s birthday party it will still be disappointing, but damn, the blow won’t be so bad. Parents can do some damage control with a little heads up. That’s the super power of parents they can take a hell on wheels situation and turn that shit into Disneyland, if given the opportunity. That’s what an RSVP does. It gives us the opportunity to turn pure poop into gold.
Thankfully, kindness still wins as there’s been a tremendous outpouring of support. Several people have reached out to Layne asking her for an address to send birthday cards to her son, to which she has happily provided. But, she still feels her story is an important one to share because it could stop another child from going through what her son went through.
She says, “I don’t want to hear anymore stories of heartbroken children, crying alone at their party, thinking nobody cares.”
If you’d like to send Mahlon a birthday card, you can send it to:
c/o Kristen P. Layne
PO BOX 8141
Bend, OR 97708