Thursday, August 11, 2011

How to Break a Child's Heart

(This was a letter to the editor that I wrote to The Downeast Coastal Press back in July 2001.)


This is an open letter to all parents of children who have ever planned a children's birthday party. I would like to express my feelings of disgust, anger, and disappointment with parents who do not respond to an invitation, or respond and end up not attending a child's birthday party.

I had recently organized a party for my daughter's birthday. In the eyes of a child, this birthday was of particular importance.

But that is beside the point.

After organizing the planning, the invitations were sent out a week before [the event] and, I might add, with well typed out directions to my home. [I also gave] a working phone number to respond to for RSVP or to answer any questions.

In the week prior to the party, my daughter talked about it with anticipation excitement. The day arrived and the house was decorated. We all waited patiently for her "friends" to show up. We waited and waited, we drove up and down the street to make sure the landmarks were in place.

Still no one.

Despair and panic set in my stomach. It ended up that not one child showed up...What a disaster. I shouldn't have to describe the feelings of disappointment and sorrow my daughter felt, not to mention my feelings as a parent who watched this unfold.

What does a parent say to a crying child as to why not one of her friends arrives [or calls] about her party? My mind is filled with anger and my heart with the deepest hurt any mother could feel for her child.

At this point, we were forced to deal with such disappointment that no child should have to deal with; an explanation why, which I could not explain. So it left me to discuss how people will let her down in life and the importance of family, which will and should always come first.

She understood, but still wanted her friends there.

My request to you - all parents who have received or have sent out an invitation for a child's birthday - is to remember this;

While you may not think it is of any importance that you call, regardless of your busy lives, what you do (or do not do) affects others around you.

Because of ignorance, rudeness or other unattractive manners, my daughter will certainly not forget this birthday nor will she forget the "friends" who didn't care enough to call. If we knew, we could have avoided such a horrible disappointment.

Unfortunately, this birthday will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Disappointed Mother

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