We are quickly approaching THREE. I really can't believe he's going to be three already ! We'll be in Calgary for his birthday, and he's super excited to go to his all time favorite place on his birthday- Chuck E Cheese. Last year he spent his 2nd birthday there, and again he started asking early this year.
The last few days he has asked me who else is coming to his birthday. Grandma and Grandpa I replied. His response was, and my friends too? No Dyl, sorry, not your friends because we won't be in Kamloops. I'd already made the decision not to have a party for him here in the loops.
When he turned one we had a giant party in Calgary. Rented a hall, had family and friends, and it was a big deal. I was sad that some people weren't able to make it, but several relatives traveled from out of town to come, and that was awesome.
When he turned two, we scaled back the Calgary party, had just a small one, but planned a larger one in Kamloops. I figured he was having more playdates, sort of moving out of that parallel play stage into more of a social play with his friends and that he'd enjoy being surrounded by his friends, and people that were important to us in Kamloops. It turned out that several of the people who rsvped didn't show. Some just straight out didn't show. Some cancelled last minute. Six families never came. Six. six. SIX.
Our cul-de-sac friends, as they always do showed up to support us and celebrate our boy's birthday, and one...just ONE of our friends came. I was very thankful that this lovely family came, it meant a lot, but honestly, it was a big big disappointment for me.
I'm probably oversensitive, but I was really hurt that the others didn't come. To me it sent a message that we weren't important or valuable enough to come. Dylan didn't know, he didn't realize, he just happily played. But I did. I wondered if it was me that people didn't like, or didn't care enough to come around for. I'm certain it isn't my lovely, wonderful, beautiful boy. But it was a bit of a wake up call for me. It felt like a taking stock of who cared and who didn't. That year it hurt me, but I was aware that in years to come, as Dylan gets older, this type of thing will hurt him. And that's something I'd do anything to avoid. I don't want my boy to feel the hurt of rejection or the sting of apathy towards him.
So this year, no party. I thought he was still young enough that he wouldn't notice, and I wasn't ready for another year of feeling crappy. But now he's asking if his friends are coming. He's been to parties for friends and seen us celebrate when friends have parties. So this year, we'll be focusing on just making it special as a family. And next year I'll have to get over it and risk that my/his/our feelings might be hurt if people bail on us. I can't protect him from hurt all the time.
I did learn a lesson about myself from this. I have been guilty of bailing on events. I always figured people wouldn't miss my presence there. And maybe they wouldn't, or maybe they would, but regardless, if lots bail, they'd likely feel the same way I did. I've been better about it in the last few years, but it's a lesson for me that commitment means just that. If I say I'm coming, I am.