October 4 – Birthday Parties

Honestly, one of the hardest parts of not being normal is birthday parties. Why? Let me tell you…

First, a true story: When I was in first grade, there was a pizza parlor in my area called Shakey’s Pizza. I had never been there, neither of my parents ate pizza and this was a time before pizza delivery. Pizza was exotic. It sounded fun. So the kids began to talk of invites to a birthday party of a fellow classmate to that pizza parlor. I eagerly awaited mine. Until the day I was told by the birthday child himself that I was not invited AND was the only child in the class not invited. I was crushed and it was very hard to listen to any conversation of kids for several days afterward.

And that would have been it, a faded memory, except for the wonders of Facebook. Where several of my childhood acquaintances started posting stories and photos of events when we were young and there were photos of the pizza party. And the wound opened anew. I almost felt like reminding them that I wasn’t there, that they had thought telling me of my loss quite fun back then, etc., but I didn’t.

And it hurt watching the same thing happen to my son, who also is not normal. Any thought that parents were kinder, gentler, had more compassion to not normal kids in the decades since I grew up…. nah!

When you are not normal, your classmates know you are different. And most schools discourage parents from coming in and explaining why a student isn’t normal, even if it would help with child to child relations. So you have a situation where the not normal kid already is on the social sidelines of the classroom.

Now its birthday party time. At the lower grades, parties often include a whole class and are simple affairs. And many times, the not normal kid will not be invited. And that will hurt at so many levels.

And the reasons for this mean treatment really suck…

Oh, the child doesn’t realize they weren’t invited…. Bull! They aren’t normal, but they sure can hear about the party before and after it happens. Some unfeeling kid will make SURE that they know they were the only one not invited.

The parents should invite who they want.. Indeed, they should. It is their money and time. But as a parent, you wouldn’t want your child to go through this. And if your child is asking that only one child be excluded, ask why.

Or the oldey but goody, it’s ok, they need to feel disappointment sometime since its a cruel world…. Believe me, they learn it everyday living in a confusing world where decisions seem to be made with no logic at all. They will experience plenty of disappointment and loneliness and many times retreat from a world that doesn’t appreciate them. Don’t isolate them further.

Let me put it this way, if you would invite the hearing impaired child, the child who needs special assists (such as a wheelchair), the child with cancer, etc., invite the not normal child. If you have concerns about their behavior, call their parent and ask them to help at the party. I know if a parent had called me, concerned with my son’s behavior but not wanting to exclude, I would have jumped at the chance to help. And that child would have gotten a wonderful present from my son and me.


3 thoughts on “October 4 – Birthday Parties

  1. Oh my gosh, I just read this and I’m so glad I did. I was just reminiscing about how I was treated in school, and the pain, this is so poignant and quite real.
    I’m so glad to meet you and your family.

  2. Pingback: The 31 Day Challenge | mjsmentalmusings

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