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Talking it over: The pain of birthday parties

Birthday parties are normally a happy event. But if you are a little child or even a big adult, being excluded or unable to have a party, can be very painful.

Last week our four year old granddaughter felt the first pain of not being invited to a birthday party. I say first because I am pretty confident there will be more of these heart-wrenching situations in her future.

Josie has the unfortunate (at four anyway) situation of having only boy friends that are her age. In most cases this doesn’t bother her or her friends at all. They play marvelously together and she is always talking about her friends who are boys. It just happens that her parents’ friends and the daycare she attends, don’t have any other girls her age.

Last week one of her friends was having a birthday. As is typical at about this age, he invited his friends, all boys, to the party. She was heartbroken. That same day she learned that her older sister was invited to her fourth birthday party of the summer. The sobs and tears flowed freely from the poor girl as she asked why she has never been invited to a birthday party.

When my daughter told me about this, my heart broke for Josie. I knew it was something that would pass soon and as soon as she starts school this fall, she will meet some girl friends and the situation will change. However, that did not help the pain it caused now. I wanted to plan a special party just for Josie but I knew deep down that doing something with Grandpa and Grandma would not be the same.

Josie will soon meet more girls and I am sure she will get her first birthday party invitation before too long. However, even being in school means that a child may have to deal with not being invited to a birthday party. It is just a fact of life and somehow parents have to explain and help children get through those tough situations. In the end, it helps them learn to deal with many of the difficulties ahead of them. Even though, as parents and grandparents, we really would do anything in our power to spare them from this pain.