Answering Birthday Call to Duty

birthday party RSVP

There is little that makes me sadder than stories of a child having no one attend his or her birthday. I’ve written before about the need to be considerate and RSVP to party invitations. In today’s example, the parents were still hoping for the best even though they hadn’t heard back from anyone. But, even after they prepared pizza and cake for the friends they expected to show up regardless of their rude inability to say “yes” or “no,” no one turned up for their 8-year-old’s big day!

Apparently this wasn’t even the first time — the same thing happened on the child’s sixth birthday!

So, the mom went on social media to ask for people to join her son’s party:

“I think I’m posting this out of utter emotional distress … but I need to ask if anyone wants to come to an 8 yr old boys birthday party to show him that he’s loved and valued as a person…NO gifts are required other than the gift of friendship.”

When she didn’t get any responses immediately, she went to the local police station and asked if an officer might attend. Her son has always wanted to join the force. And that’s where this story takes its turn for the better.

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Members of both the police and fire department showed up to fete Graham. Cruisers lined the street of his neigbourhood. Plus, others who had seen the social media also showed up to share their best wishes.

The Mom was tearful in describing her gratitude to the Dallas News: “Something like this, it literally guts you as a parent because you can’t fix it, at least in that moment…But the Hurst Police Department and the Hurst Fire Department, they went above and beyond and made his day.”

There are so many ways in which you can make someone’s day on their birthday. I hope this glimmer of kindness inspires you!

Birthday Courtesy…heck, any day courtesy.

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Sarah Parrott via Foter.com/CC BY-NC-ND

Basic Birthday Courtesy

This is me blogging angry. ANGRY. I just read an article about a 9-year-old who started this year in public school and was excited to celebrate his first birthday party with classmates. After being homeschooled for years, he and his mother planned a Diary of A Wimpy Kid party to enjoy his big day. Invitations were sent. Party favors purchased. Cake bought or made. Games set up. NO ONE CAME.

The child’s Charlie Brown party is sad. What makes me so angry? NO ONE RSVPed. Simply responding to the invitation with a “can’t make it” text or call would have avoided this upset.

In a post related to this birthday disaster, the mother pointed out that although she hadn’t heard from anyone, she assumed some kids would still attend. After all, several of the children that attended her daughter’s birthday hadn’t responded in advance. But this time, not a soul came to the party, and the parents were totally unprepared.

AWFUL. Let’s consider again just how easy it is to send a text. I probably could have sent six in the time it took you to read that last sentence alone.

It’s So Easy to RSVP

Personally, I don’t understand how any parent who has hosted a birthday party can’t respond. You know the cost that goes into hosting a birthday party. You know the child’s emotional investment. You know how much easier it is to plan when you have some idea of numbers of people to expect.

This is about courtesy and a basic level of respect for the people around us who are inviting us to share in an important moment in their lives. Argh. It makes me so angry to think of that poor boy’s disappointment. And how easily it could have been avoided if we weren’t becoming this society of people who are letting basic etiquette slide in favor of swiping to the right and adding a thumbs up or thumbs down to a social post.

RSVP! Whatever the occasion — birthday, wedding, retirement party…even pet playdate! Say yes. Say no. But say something. It’s a small thing you can do to make someone’s big day that much better.

Bill Me for Your Birthday?

med75-001Throwing a birthday party can be expensive. Happily my son has selected a sleepover this year. I’ve decided the savings is worth the insanity that is sure to ensue (and the crankiness to be expected from my sleep-deprived birthday boy the day after).

Yet, anyone who has planned a child’s birthday at a venue knows hosts often have to give the number of guests expected in advance and are charged per person. Of course, since we’re talking about petri dishes of pestilence — I mean children — there can be no-shows.

Sure, this hurts the host’s pocketbook, but with utter shock I report an English mother actually charged another set of parents for their failure to bring a five-year-old to her son’s party. Of course it is surprising the threat of litigation didn’t happen first in the U.S! But the woman even printed out a full-on invoice (shown in The Telegraph story) for approximately $24 US!

The Telegraph editorial didn’t “seek to take sides,” but a columnist in the paper wrote that she would have just paid the bill to “rise above” playground politics.

RSVPs are common sense and letting hosts know of changing plans is good manners. Had I skipped out at the last minute I would feel guilty and would have apologized profusely for the inconvenience. But would I have felt financially responsible? H-E-double-hockey-sticks No.