Monday, October 24, 2016

Parents Please Don't Forget to RSVP

I write this post with swollen, puffy eyes, still raw and burning from crying myself to sleep on my pillow. What was supposed to be a fun filled birthday party weekend, complete with pizza, cake, games, prizes and friends, went horribly wrong.

To understand my devastation, I first need to tell you about our newly turned nine year old son. Mae Mae (nickname used for his privacy) is a bright, sensitive, caring little boy who loves animals and babies. We jokingly call him the baby whisperer as he has this incredible ability to calm a crying baby.  He's also an avid animal lover and a vegetarian by choice.  While his peers may be busy being wrapped up in their cell phones and video games, M's prized possessions are his stuffed animals and plushy characters from his favorite movies and shows.  He's also a naturally funny boy who loves nothing more than to make people laugh. He's known by friends and family as a future Will Ferrell in training.  In our large, chaotic family, he's the peacemaker child who's easy to please and looks at life with hope and optimism. He's the kid who would give the shirt off of his back to a stranger, hand over a beloved toy to make another child smile, and would give his mom his favorite candy bar without hesitation. He's a bit of a rare breed these days in an ever changing world where the majority of communication is done online, invitations to events consist of a social media announcement, and manners and etiquette are becoming obsolete.

As a home schooled child, he's never had a real birthday party before. Don't get me wrong, he's had parties, but they were limited to his mom and dad, siblings, grandpa and occasionally a family friend, but usually just his siblings and parents. This worked well for many years as he was young and didn't really know what he was missing but last year on his eighth birthday, he really started to notice that he didn't have any friends. We held his party at Chuck E Cheese, but couldn't think of anyone with kids his age to invite so we did the best that we could and invited a couple of family friends. Unfortunately no one showed up and even though he was used to only having parties with his siblings, my heart ached for him and I vowed that his ninth birthday would be different.  After his party ended, I patted him on the head and said, "Next year you'll be in public school. You're going to have lots of classmates to invite. Don't you worry buddy." He smiled and his big brown eyes sparkled with excitement as he replied with "Yay! I can't wait!" This ninth birthday was supposed to be his year. His special day. His first real party with friends.

His favorite book series is Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Since his dear old mom is severely challenged in the crafty department, I ordered him custom invitations on Etsy, an edible DOAWK cake topper, and turned to Pinterest for DOAWK themed games.  He handed out multiple invitations to his friends at school, and one from taekwondo and eagerly counted down the days, hours, and minutes until his birthday.

When his birthday finally arrived yesterday, he was up before the sun. He hung streamers, blew up balloons, cleaned his room, took a bath, picked out his outfit, set the table, and carefully assembled the treat bags for his friends.  "Only three more hours until my friends arrive" he yelled. "This is the happiest day of my life, Momma. I can't wait until my friends get here!"

Hours before the party...
Still very much full of hope and excitement
One of the many DOAWK inspired games we had planned..
M helped me with these 
Waiting for guests to arrive....
He was so excited and anxious....
His edible cake topper...which didn't exactly fit on the cake like promised but close enough
When the party time came and passed, and none of the party guests were here yet, I started to get a little nervous. I had asked parents to RSVP on the invitation, but hadn't received a single reply. Since we're new in town (and school just started a little over a month ago here), I didn't have phone numbers for any of the parents. M rides the bus to and from school, and unfortunately none of his friends are at our bus stop, so I don't have the opportunity to see the other parents (add in a super fussy baby to the mix and some days i'm lucky if I even get to leave the house). I expressed my concerns with my husband the night before his party but he reassured me that "Nobody seems to RSVP these days. Don't worry, they'll come. Kids love birthday parties."  I considered cancelling the party, but M told me that five of his friends had told him they were coming so I was worried that if I cancelled, they would still show up. Our daughter had a birthday party earlier this month and none of the girls RSVP'd but four of them still showed up anyways, so we were cautiously optimistic.

At first I hoped maybe they got lost, or were running late, but we live near the elementary school and our house is not difficult to find. I included our vital contact info-address, phone number, on the invitation, etc. I was most definitely reachable.

M who was starting to get a bit anxious, ran outside, and began to run up and down the street. Each and every car that turned down our street he craned his little neck to get a better look, while hoping and praying it was a missing party guest.

But no one came. Not a single child.

Shortly after my husband arrived home with enough pizza to feed a small army.  The party should've been in full swing at that point, but instead M hung his head, his tiny shoulders began to shake. "No one came Dad. I guess i'm not very popular at school" and he sobbed. 

Words cannot describe the utter and complete devastation that washed over me, my husband and my nearly 70 year old father who was almost brought to tears himself.  Seeing my heartbroken little boy sitting all alone at his brightly decorated, empty party table was more than I could take.  I briefly excused myself to my bathroom and sobbed quietly, as I didn't want to upset him any further.  My dad and husband did an excellent job of distracting him and we made the best of it.  One of our family friends did show up and even though he's an adult, M was really happy he came. We ate as much of the pizza and bread sticks as we could stomach, sang happy birthday and ate cake, and even played a silly game that M was eager to play with his friends.  He opened presents with a big smile on his face, because, well, that's our boy.  Despite his pain, he tried his hardest to have a good time. My dad offered to take him bowling, something he's been wanting to do for a while. We showered him with hugs, love and kisses in a feeble attempt to salvage the disastrous day. We came home tired and exhausted. Once the kids were safely asleep, my husband and I fell apart. There's only been a few times i've seen my tough, manly husband tear up, and last night was one of them.

Trying desperately to make the best of a very bad situation
So we packed up and went bowling...he loved it! 
I don't blame the kids who didn't show up, and i'm trying very hard not to blame the parents as i'm honestly too devastated to be angry.  There are a million excuses and scenarios that could explain why no one showed. Perhaps they didn't feel comfortable sending their kids over to our house for a couple of hours, perhaps they already had plans, perhaps their child was sick, or perhaps their child's invitation never made it home and is crumpled up into a ball at the bottom of their backpack, who really knows? What I do know though, is that M will likely never forget his ninth birthday. It will forever be etched in his memory bank as that one year when no one came to his party. And that kills me as a parent. And it could've all been avoided by a simple RSVP, via phone call, text, email, whatever, etc.  I know I will definitely never ignore those four little letters ever again. 

Parents or caregivers, please, I beg you not to ignore it either.  I know you're busy, tired, stressed, have a million and one other things to do, etc. I'm right there with you, but please the next time you're tempted to ignore the handwritten invitation from a classmate, please remember that there could be a child sitting at an empty party table, crying into his napkin, feeling unloved and rejected. Let the parents know one way or the other if your child is attending. If you have other plans or don't feel comfortable sending your child, that's fine, but do the right thing and let them know! Had we known that no one was coming, we would've changed the date or time, or we would've planned something extra special for him with the money that we instead spent on the party.  We would've done anything to avoid the pain and devastation he experienced.

This morning as he woke up and got ready for school, he seemed to be in decent spirits. His main concern was making sure that his friends still got their treat bags that he made for them. That's our boy though, always thinking of others instead of himself.  He's a good kid and we definitely did something right with this one. So please, please, please, do the right thing and RSVP!!


1,293 comments:

  1. That's just horrible!! HORRIBLE!! I absolutely blame the parents! How could they?! I'm so sorry! I hope his generosity of making sure that his friends got their goodie bags didn't go unnoticed and that at least a few parents reached out to apologize!

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    1. I am crying my eyes out for your precious boy. I pray that God will mend his heart and give beauty for ashes in his life.

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    2. Could we all send your son birthday cards some how ?

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    3. I am deeply saddened for you and your family. My daughter is having a party this weekend and fortunately we did get many RSVPs back. I was actually surprised at the response. But It was detrimental to know what to expect. We have had parties in the past that has ended this way. I as a single mother of two girls know the importance of friends in your childs life. I have Spent money that I didnt have to make their day special. Your boy IS a wonderful kid just k owing his heart by taking the party bags to the kids. I hope I can bring peace to you by saying it will get better. The beginning of the year is always so crazy. The longer he is in public school and the more time he has to make friends will only progress from here. I will keep M and you in my prayers. Next year will be his year!

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    4. I had the same thing happen with my son's birthday as well. I have stopped having actual parties because of this and we now take our kids to a dinner of their choosing and do cake and icecream as a family. Some schools allow you to send treats in for the class. I have done this with my 4yrolds class. I absolutely hate seeing kids hurt in anyways. Best wishes. Happy Birthday lil man!!

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    5. Kid should just be thankful people are willing to be with him on his birthday and he has family. Family is all you need. Alot of people dont have family. Be thankful . Appreciate the little things

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    6. Kid should be lucky he had people to spend it with. And that he has family. Alot of people dont. Appreciate the little things. Youll get your group of friends eventually. I didnt till i was in 7th grade. Youll live

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  2. That's rude. And as Roshni mentioned the fault is entirely with the parents. He's a wise, loving and affectionate boy and I am sure he'll soon be making lots of friends. Genuine friends. Who'll be there for him no matter what. Lots of love and blessings.

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    1. Thank you Rekha :) He's a good boy and I know he's well liked. I think it was just a combination of many things....bad timing, us being new, having the party at our house instead of a public place, etc. We will do the next party very differently but I also learned that I will seriously RSVP for every single event after this, whether I plan on attending or not, lol!

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    2. This is very anecdotal but I have noticed my parties with a really fun theme or event get more attendees than at home parties, except the at home party that was a princess tea party, no one missed that.. maybe part of it is like it feels more skippable almost when it's a home party vs something they are super excited about like dressing up like a princess or playing arcade games kinda.. I'm not sure really, but I'm still surprised no one showed up and that sucks but maybe something to keep in mind for next year, I'm sure you guys will be going all out next year, he seems to have a great attitude!

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  3. My heart breaks for your family. I absolutely hate that not RSVPing has become the norm! It's simple common decency to do so. Not a single parent hasn't gone through throwing a party for their child(ren), and felt the annoyance of people who don't RSVP. And it's not just children's parties that this happens at! Housewarming parties, get-togethers, and even weddings! How did we get to this point? I made it a point to always RSVP because I've been so afraid that my own son's birthday party would turn out this way. And bless your son's heart that he still wanted to give out the treat bags. Such a sweet soul he has!

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    1. Thank you Jacque :) It's definitely different than back when we were kids. My mom passed away back in 1996 but she was hardcore when it came to manners and etiquette (she was an elementary school teacher too). She always RSVP'd for parties and I hand wrote out thank you cards for each and every gift I ever received.

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    2. I'm a 21 year old man and reading this almost brought me to tears. I hope he had a great 10th next year because hearing this just nearly broke my heart. If I had the money I'd send a a gift but I'm a college student with bills but happy late birthday to your little guy!

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  4. What a sweet boy, still making sure his school friends enjoyed the treat bags from the party they weren't there for ❤️️ You did everything right! My heart aches for him, and I pray that the pain of this weekend isn't long lived.

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    1. I agree what a sweet boy u raised to still b thinking of the kids at school . Reading this story I totally put myself there as I have boys around his age and that would b heart wretching to go thru . I would love to send ur lil fella a card u have a special boy there . ��God Bless you all ��

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  5. You did everything right with that sweet boy ❤️️❤️️❤️️ I pray that the pain of the weekend isn't with him long. Bless his sweet heart for making sure his friends still got their treat bags 😍👏🏼

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  6. This very thing happened to my daughter/family a couple years ago. Ever since then, I have had so much anxiety over hosting parties and inviting people. I really don't anymore. It made me terribly angry, because I ALWAYS went to their kids stuff (I'm talking family here). I still do, and just about every birthday party we get invited to because I don't ever want another kid to feel like that. It absolutely tore me apart. My heart breaks all over again reading your story. I'm so sorry that happened <3

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    1. So sorry this happened to your daughter :( It's heartbreaking isn't it? I don't care if people are mean to me, but I don't want my kids to hurt.

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  7. I'm sorry that this happened to him. But this isn't the other parents' fault. I got married 16 years ago. Most people didn't RSVP if they weren't coming and we didn't expect them to because that cultural shift happened long before that. Maybe it's a class thing. Or a local culture. Around much of the Midwest, people have only RSVP'd if they are coming for quite a while. Only close friends will tell you if they can't make it.

    What environments and experiences are you providing for him to foster closer friendships with his peers? It won't necessarily just happen at school.

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    1. With all due respect, I do feel you are wrong. Just because many people don't RSVP, doesn't make it right. That little boy will remember this and it will cause him pain. To not respond to a wedding invitation is also reprehensible because you are talking about thousands of dollars being spent on food, drink and facility, not to mention the disrespect they are showing you and your now husband. Social responsibility and respect is not limited to geography, it only takes a minute to check the box to say if you'll come or not and throw it in the mail or simply call and say whether or not your child will be there. This lack of feeling is a mentality and the people that exhibit it should be ashamed of themselves.

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    2. I understand where you're coming from and I do expect some criticism in all of this and I have no doubt that we made some mistakes in planning this party. I did consider cancelling the party as I hadn't heard from any of the parents, but five of his friends told him they were coming. I should've had him get their parents phone numbers, but I didn't. He does participate in Taekwondo, but the way his dojang operates, it's a drop in system so you can come to whichever class you want M-F. Because of this, he doesn't see the same kids in every class. It's a little easier for my soccer players to make friends because we get to know the parents every week at practices and games. M hasn't been able to play team sports. He suffers from a connective tissue disorder, along with hypotonia so there aren't many sports he can do. We would like to get him more involved in non sports activities, but we just moved here, and we have a new baby so taekwondo is all we've been able to do besides school (plus his dojang is very expensive so we can't really afford too many activities as I have two other kids who play soccer and one other child who also does taekwondo).

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    3. Lived all over the Midwest and we definitely do RSVP. RSVPing is not some regional thing, but a common courtesy.
      I'm so sorry for your kiddo. Whenever I send paper invites, I also worry about them getting lost in bottomless backpacks. While you may never know what happened with each family, take heart that next year will be better!

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    4. I have to say you are entitled to your opinion, as I am mine, but I have to agree wholeheartedly with M's mother. This was callous and careless act by a whole class of childrens parents

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    5. I live in the Midwest and definitely RSVP. In fact, my mother in law through me a baby shower and instead of rsvping to her I had one person tell me directly and another told their husband who told my husband who told me.... I was irritated by this because I wasn't hosting and shouldn't be fielding responses. Every single other person invited sent their rsvp to my MIL as they should. It's incredibly rude to ignore an invite forcing hosts to track you down for an answer. Side note, your son sounds amazing! I'm sure he'll make friends soon!

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    6. An RSVP calls for a response. Whether it be a 'yes' or a 'no'. People are just very inconsiderate. I deal with it myself when planning family gatherings. It's frustrating. I'm sorry your son had to experience this. It seems as though he has a beautiful heart and that really is the best gift. God bless.

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    7. I live in the Midwest as well and have typically only received a rsvp for those coming not those who can't make it.

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    8. I have RSVP'ed to every party my kids have gone to. Even when my kid ended up sick, I made sure to call the mom to let her know we wouldn't be there so they wouldn't be expecting us.
      I wish more people RSVP'ed nowadays.

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  8. I will tell you. Between my work schedule my school schedule, my daughter's gymnastics, girl scouts and school, I get overwhelmed. I am the one that puts the RSVP and forgets about it. Thank you for sharing your story and insight. I will now put them in a place to remember and always RSVP. I love the inspiration of your son, even though things went wrong he kept a smile on his face, we as adults need to learn that as well.

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    1. I've been guilty of it before too, but this has really taught me a lesson to call parents, even if we plan on coming! It's so hard to plan parties these days because if you have it at a skating rink, bowling alley, restaurant, etc, they usually want a head count. I've been guilty before of not RSVPing because I knew we were planning to go, but I realize now that it was very inconsiderate of me because I caused stress and worry on the parents planning the party :(

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  9. This happened to me when I was ten, I'm 48 now. It did affect me. I was new to my city and didn't have many friends, my birthday was supposed to be a way to get to know more people and everyone seemed excited to come. No one came, I cried all night knowing I had to face everyone in the morning at school. No one said anything, no one apologized or asked if it had been fun. It's one of the reasons I gave my children huge parties as they grew up. Your son sounds bright, intelligent, loving and perfect in every way. He will overcome it. The only thing I could suggest is now that you've had time in your new circumstances getting involved to foster closer relationships may be the key. I absolutely blame the parents as well. RSVP'ing is etiquette. It's a simple act of respect. Being a parent and not modeling that behavior for your own kids is deplorable. It sounds like they didn't know that no one showed up and they hurt him deeply.?. I hope you told them, not to embarrass them but to show their careless actions affected a young man who didn't deserve it. Maybe in the future they'd learn from it and not do it to anyone else. We've become a kind of blameless society, where careless actions are not held accountable. My warm thoughts are with your son and family.

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    1. Thank you for the kind reply and I teared up a bit reading this. Okay, i'm full out crying again. I'm so sorry this happened to you as well. Ugh! My heart breaks for all kids who experience this :(

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  10. I am heart broken for your son. We have had similar situations. Two years ago, we combined all 4 of our kids' parties and still only had 4 school friends show up. That was out of 4 classrooms! Thank goodness we have a huge extended family!

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    1. Wow, that's crazy that only 4 school kids showed up! Geez! We love parties and my kids have gone to every single party they've been invited too (we've even had to reschedule things to allow our kids to go--I realize that's not always possible to do). Unfortunately my husband and I both have very small families and we're both shy so we don't know a ton of people (although we have actually been forcing ourselves to make friends in our new town). I only have one brother and he doesn't have any kids, my sister in law's kids are close in age but they live two hours away. It's really hard :(

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  11. Is there any way you can get a P.O.Box? I'm sure there are lots of people, including myself, who would love to send your son a birthday card!

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    1. Awwww, that's so sweet of you to offer! I will definitely look into it. My husband and I have been talking about getting one. I can probably get this done sometime tomorrow morning. Thank you so much :)

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    2. I, too, was wondering if there was a safe address we could send a few birthday cards to!

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    3. Yes! I would love to send him a birthday card, as well if you set up a P.O. Box! :)

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    4. I'm definitely down on getting "M" something for his birthday!

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    5. Yes! I love this idea. I would love to send him a card as well!!!

      So unfortunate that no one showed to the party. I'm sure a lot of the kids lost their invitations or never showed their parents. Either way, it breaks my heart and I would love to send some birthday love your son's way!

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    6. i would like the P.O Box too when you get it!

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    7. Just added one at the bottom of my post: Mahlon K. c/o Kristen P. Layne, PO Box 8141, Bend, OR 97708. Thanks so much!!!!

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    8. I would love to send M a birthday card with a little surprise inside. My heart breaks at this and so thankful my children never experienced that overwhelming feeling of hurt and rejection. Its hard enough as an adult but for a child at his age, it can totally reshape them. Thankfully he has such a strong loving family who made the best of the situation and still have him an amazing birthday. Big hugs to you and Mahlon!
      Shannon in TN

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  12. It's hard when you are the new parent and kid in town and it'd also hard to let your child go to a party where you don't know the parents.

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    1. Yes, I totally agree with you. I'm honestly not angry at anyone. If I had to be angry at anyone, it's myself for not just cancelling it. I wasn't sure what to do because M kept saying that five of his classmates told him they were coming. I'm thinking of having a party in the spring for him (not a birthday party and I will put no gifts on the invites) but having his teacher pass out the invitations to the entire class.

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  13. OMG Kristen, I just saw this! I am so smad...sad and mad. That sweet boy could have been anyone's child but seriously, WHAT IN THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ADULTS?? How hard is it to RSVP? I don't get this either. But let me tell you, it happens with my almost nine year old for the past several years and it happened with my oldest. People are rude and I am sad that your son had to experience it firsthand. If we lived closer, Ella and I would have been there. Sending you so much love. Give your son a big hug for us.

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    1. Awww thanks Kari! You are such a sweetheart and I WISH you guys lived closer to us!

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  14. Aa a step parent of a special kid,I understand how you feel. Please don't take this the wrong way but next time Mail the invitations. I've made the mistake before where the invites get handed out to the kids and often times don't make it to the other parent. The kids all probably wanted to come but if Mom or Dad aren't aware of the plans, it can make for a bit of a mess. Also, I've found it helpful to get to know some of the other parents to ensure their child's attendance at events. Take advantage of class directories and mailing lists. Or ask the teacher for assistance in distribution of invites.

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    1. I understand where you're coming from. I wish that I had addresses for the kids. We are new here and school just started a little over a month ago. Schools in our areas don't do directories anymore because of privacy issues (ugh) so it's difficult. I wish his party had been later in the year and I would've had more time to get to know the other parents. School didn't start until after Labor Day here so they've really only been in school for a month and a half. We will probably try to have a spring party for him and invite the whole class with the teacher's assistance. Thank you for commenting :)

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  15. Yeah. This happend to my boy. Hes used to big parties where all my friends kids come that he knows but we had mkved 6 hours away from my friends so we invited his entire class for his 6th birthday. Had gift bags a piñata streamers the works. Not one rsvp and not one person showd. We brought him to chucky cheese to save the night. Im now back with my friends and family and will never invite the class ever again. We have enough kids his age in our friendship group that he has a blast every birthday.

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    1. I'm so sorry :( My heart literally breaks for every kid that this has happened to. Moving to a new town/city definitely makes it difficult. We just moved here a few months ago and school only started a month and a half ago. I wish that I knew the parents in his class but my boys ride the bus so I don't see any of them. I haven't been able to volunteer in their classrooms this year because I have a 6 month old baby who's super fussy and colicky. I will try to plan something for him this spring. Thank you for commenting :)

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    1. He does very much. He seriously likes everything! He's a good boy who is very appreciative over everything, which is why i'm taking this whole thing so hard. He's such a sweet boy and I wanted him to have a good party and now I just feel awful about it. UGH! I will try to post a PO box address for him soon. Thank you so much for commenting :)

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  17. I am so sorry this happened to your son. It really ticks me off when people do not rsvp. Especially since there are so many ways to communicate now with one another . When one of my kids gets invited to s party I rsvp as soon as I get the invitation. That's how my parents raised me and how I have raised my kids. My heart goes out to your young man. It seems to me that the parents of these " friends" could learn a thing or two from him.

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  18. learning from three kids you the parent that having the party has to call the parents to make sure if there child is going to the party. it has happen when a parent comes to me a week later to ask me if i got the birthday invite to realize the invite went to spam or it berried in my child bag or on the pile of stuff on top of the kitchen table. but really sorry to hear this happen to your son it happen to my middle child when he was in kindergarten

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    1. My friend who had twins also invited the parents. For the parents she had a grown up party ... Wine, cheese, snacks, etc. and they could sit on the patio or a different area of the house and visit. Many parents these days wont send a kid to the house of someone they don't know. Being hew in the community didn't help here. But this way she could confirm with the parents that they and child were coming. Also, maybe put a price limit on gifts, like 5.00 .... As your son grows he will remember this for years to come. The wonderful way you handeled it will also help him heal. Another thought....you might consider a non-birthday party like the one mentioned as a trial run for some event ... Maybe end of school year, winter break, etc. when he has had the chance to make more friends and you can have parents phone numbers. It would also be a way for you to meet the parents. No gifts.... Fewer people, and not the emphasis and importance of a birthday party. I wish you well, and your son the best,

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  19. This truly breaks my heart, as I am sure it did yours. I don't know that I would necessarily blame the other parents because, as you said, the invitation may still be balled up at the bottom of the bookbag. But, if the parents did know about the party then shame on them. And shame on me because I have been the guilty party that has not taken then time to extend that courtesy to others. However, I have learned from your story the implications from not doing so. Your son sounds like a sweetheart, one with a kind soul and spirit that only sees good in every situation. He will no doubt thrive and grow from this experience. It's us as parents that will have the hardest time letting go and forgetting the pain it caused our baby. I would definitely be interested in a P.O. Box so that my boys could send him a card. They LOVE Diary of a Whimpy Kid too. Thank you for sharing. God Bless your son and your family.

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  20. I am so so sorry that this happened. It hurts us mama's heart so bad when our babies hurt. There is a lesson here that parents must learn. Yes, we're all busy and running and stressed but a we must make time to respond to a child's birthday party. If you can't go, fine, but let the parents know. A child's broken heart is at stake. You are a good mama and did all you can do. Sounds like you've got a fine little man there and he will bounce back. God bless you all. If you get a PO box let me know! I want to send that baby a prize'

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    1. Thank you Sherry, that is so sweet of you! It's Mahlon K. c/o Kristen P. Layne, PO Box 8141, Bend, OR 97708

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  21. Funny, I read this a day after remembering the disaster that was my own 13th birthday party. Very similar circumstances; my mom spent money to rent out the skating rink, bought a huge cake & other party treats & only 1 person (my BFF at the time) showed up. I'm still not sure what happened or what went wrong. I often wonder if I invited the wrong group of people-ones who seemed to be my friend at school but never gave me a second thought otherwise. Perhaps bc I have a December birthday & my party had a poorly planned date in the days before Christmas. Nonetheless, I do still remember the incident & my mom coming into my room that night apologizing for how it turned out. What I remember most, however, was skating my heart out with my bestie on an otherwise empty rink. At the time, and even thinking back on it now, I still had a great time. Your son seems to be kind & resilient; I truly think he will look back at the fun he had with you all & remember the positive moments over the negative.

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  22. I'm sorry this happened to your son, but it sounds like your family handled things perfectly. I understand on a small scale how you feel. We're a military family and very rarely stay in one spot long to enough to make many friends, so we generally just skip the big parties. Right now we're over 5000 miles from the closest family member so I finally just let go and looked for the positive. It's been a blessing in disguise; we take that lump some that would go towards games, decor, etc. and instead do something really memorable as a family. It sounds like you turned a negative situation into a positive for your son, and he's very lucky to have such a loving mom and dad.

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  23. Where do you live?! Have another party, and we will be there!

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    1. We just moved from Portland, OR to a a little town in Central Oregon :)

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  24. I'm SO sorry that this happened to your son. My son has special needs and we didn't have a party for years and ended up lucking out once we did finally have one but it could have gone either way. I wish everybody would RSVP!

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    1. Thank you Kristi :) I'm so happy to hear your son's party turned out great!

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  25. The same thing happened to my nephew for his 9th birthday. I was glad I was 2 hours away because I wanted to go to each parents' house and ask "why"? (Small town & the party for the family was happening 3 days later). Next year we made sure it wasn't going to happen again. We asked him to pick 4 of his best friends that he wanted at his birthday party. When the boys said yes they wanted to go we talked to their parents and made sure they were ok with the plan. We then picked up each boy and took them to an entertainment/game place. Our family was also there, but we let them play on their own for hours- come and go, play, eat food, open packages, eat cake, look in their treat bags. They had a great time! One even said "do we have to go home now?" The 10th birthday was a complete success!! Tell him to hang in there and hopefully next year will be SOOOO much better!

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    1. Thank you so much :) He's still hopeful and is looking forward to his 10th birthday. Nothing gets this kid down for very long. He's our eternal optimist (which is good because the rest of us aren't, lol).

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  26. I'm curious, how were the invitations sent? It's true, kids love going to birthday parties, eating cake, etc. The author states that she did not have the parents' contact information. This leads me to believe that the invitations were verbal only or that they were passed out at school. How do you know the kids' parents even knew there was a party? Next time, have invitations to your son's birthday sent to his friends' addresses in the mail, friend his friends' parents on Facebook, and get their contact information, make sure they even know that their kids are expected to go to a party.

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    1. They were custom invitations that we ordered from Etsy. I do believe Mahlon passed them out. He's a very responsible nine year old and is wise beyond his years. He was homeschooled up until this year so he spent the majority of his years around adults. I believe him when he said he passed them out.

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  27. I suspect the parents did not know their children were expected to attend a party. The author states that when the children did not arrive, she did not know their parents' contact information. I assume the child invited his friends at school verbally or by handing out small cards. How do you know the children remembered to tell their parents about the party or give them the card? I suggest sending the invitations to the children's parents in the mail, friending the parents on Facebook, and being sure you have their contact information. Also, if the mother knew the children's last names, I assume she could have looked up their parents' phone numbers.

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  28. My mom tells of stories like this from when we were kids and it still breaks her heart so I try to be better but I fail. This will make me think twice and try to be even better. I am so sorry for his and your hearts. Praying for you all.

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  29. I'm so sorry that happened to you and your little boy. My little one is only 4 and we have the same situation of just family friends and not many kids to attend his parties yet. What happened to you is a fear of mine when he gets older and into school. Maybe you could suggest some type of phone or email tree with the other parents in his class. So sweet and heartbreaking how amazing he was to worry that the kids got their treat bags. I literally cried when I read that. I hope he has an amazing 10th birthday party and doesn't even remember this.

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    1. The phone tree is a great idea! I will pass that along to his teacher. Thank you :)

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  30. This article hit home! 'My 3rd son turned 8 on October 3rd and he also hadn't ever had an official friend party like his big brothers who are in sports and get swamped with friends coming to their events. I planned my 8 year olds party for the pumpkin patch. I actually hand write out store bought invites and stated: MUST RSVP because I needed to get a count. Ended up with 3 friends coming which I was soooo thankful for bc I felt the hurt your feeling too. I was lucky to have those 3 kids come. My son also is a seeetie who just isn't the sports world therefore lots less friends. I can remeber exactly how nervous I felt bc only 3 out of 30 plus invites said they would come. I was sure more kids in his class would show. They didn't. But all in All- we were thankful for family and the few friends - I have also not rsvp'd before / now I know first hand how important it is. God bless!

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  31. Can I send him a birthday present? He is very popular!

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    1. That's so very sweet of you! Mahlon would love it! Our address is Mahlon K, c/o Kristen P. Layne, PO Box 8141, Bend, OR 97708. Thank you so much :)

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  32. When we get an invitation I immediately rsvp and I stick it to my fridge where I only put events that we need to remember like school dates etc. That way we can't forget.

    I am so so sorry that your sweet boy missed out on his party. I hope you get to have lomg chats about it so he can understand it wasn't him, it was just being new, maybe parents not getting the invite, etc. That you can try again another time when you have peoples phone numbers to male sure of who is coming?

    I'd even be tempted to let the teacher know of what happened and ask of he/she could coordinate with you gettimg invites out to re do the party in a couple of weeks using your same games and decorations? It might be nicer to do it soon so it can still be a birthday party and your teacher would have better contact with the parents. Also if there are kids from soccer who have 9yo siblings they could be invited?

    I'd send something if I was in the same country as you as it is heartbreaking to see a sad child :-(

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    1. Thank you so much, and yes, we will definitely be doing things differently next time (learned a lot from this awful experience). We are thinking of having a spring party for him and we'll be inviting the entire class. I will be contacting the teacher to see if she can help make sure the invites make it to everyone and i'm hoping she'll be able to put a reminder in the parent email so at least I'll know the parents have the info. Thanks for your kind reply :)

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  33. You don't by any chance live in Georgia?! We would love to come to his 10th birthday party :)

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    1. No, but I wish! I've heard it's gorgeous there! We are in a little town in Central Oregon :)

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  34. You don't by any chance live in Georgia?! We would love to come to his next party!

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  35. Absolutely heartbreaking :(. When I was in 7th grade, I was invited to go to a restaurant to eat with them after our Valentines Dance. When I went to get my coat, the girls that invited me had already left. Thinking it was an accident or misunderstanding, my mom drove me to the restaurant that was 20 minutes away. When I arrived, the entire group was pointing and laughing because they didn't actually want me to come and couldn't believe I "didn't get the hint". These were my friends. I was a part of this group. Even now this is making my chest tighten thinking of the hurt I felt and how your precious M must have felt in those moments. His heart for people will not go unnoticed and there will be the perfect friends out there for him. Praying for your family and for M as you walk through this journey!

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    1. Oh my gosh, i'm crying reading this. That is awful. AWFUL!!!! I'm so sorry that happened to you :(

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  36. I feel for you and your sweet boy. I honestly do. I can't imagine what it was like, but seriously...you made so many mistakes here. And you have no one to blame but yourself. Your child is new to the school. You don't know the parents. There hasn't been an effort on your part to make friends with the parents. You planned a party at your house. No one is going to send their kid to a drop-off party at a house of parents they don't know. Not going to happen. You should have had it at a public place: CEC, bounce house, park, anywhere but your home. And then you took the word of some kids over the fact that not one parent contacted you? Of course the kids are going to say they are coming. In my years of kid party experience, no one just shows up. They might call the day of the party, but they don't just show up.

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    1. We did the same thing with our daughter and kids showed up so we were hopeful.

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  37. I am so sorry this happened to your family, and your sweet son. No child should have to experience this. I pray that his next birthday and for many many many after that are filled with joy and love and that he experiences such happiness on those days, and everyday he knows he's loved and cherished and important <3

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  38. I am so sorry that your sweet boy went through this! My daughter is only a year and a half, but I am always going to be scared of this, especially since it happened to my little brother a few years ago. You have raised a kind, gentle, beautiful boy who obviously can carry no anger in his soul. How kind for him to want to take the goody bags to people who didn't even come. Great job!! I will keep your boy and you in my prayers this evening. I hope next year he has the best birthday party ever!! :)

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  39. I'm so sorry you're family went through this xx
    You have a little gentleman there! Please wish him some very Happy 9th Birthday wishes from Australia xx 🎂 🎂 🎁

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  40. Looking at that sweet face, and reading your story.....I am sobbing, and my heart is absolutely breaking for your little guy with a heart of gold.
    He reminds me of my nephews-- they are so sweet and sensitive; not like a lot of the other kids their age. The fact that he wanted the children to have their gift bags-- ughhh. Your boy is SO special. Please let him know how many people think so.....I wish I could send him a card.

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    1. Thank you :) We finally have an address where cards can be sent. Mahlon K. c/o Kristen P. Layne, PO Box 8141, Bend, OR 97708.

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  41. My heart ached for the boy throughout reading this entire story because I had a similar situation happen to me for my 8th birthday because I was a newer kid at school and also very shy. I have a summer birthday and the friends I invited told me they were on vacation when they didn't even RSVP. Just reading this made me want to give your son a hug because he isn't the only one although I'm very sorry to hear.

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  42. My 6 year old came into the room and asked why I had tears in my eyes. I explained your sons story to her and she would like to send him a gift. Is there an address or po box we can send to?

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  43. My 6 year old came into the room and asked why there were tears in my eyes. I explained your son's story to her and she would like to send him a gift. Is there an address or PO Box we can send to?

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    1. Thank you so much! I need to go feed a fussy baby but I added a PO Box to the bottom of my post :)

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  44. This actually happened to me twice once at my 10th birthday and agian as an adult a few months ago I had a diaper shower and it was mostly family that was invited yet only my hosts, mother, granny, and siterinlaw came. Noone coming to my 10th birthday deeply effected me. I've hated my birthday since, because it reminds me of that day. After that day I became more reserved and less outgoing withdrawn. I've been better as an adult but after it happening agian recently I'm having trouble agian. I thank you for realizing this impacted M so much and you didnt ignore it. Pat yourself on the back Mom what you did means a lot.

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    1. Thank you :) I'm so sorry this happened to you as well :(

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  45. I had the flip side experience happen with my daughter several years ago. She got invited to a preschool classmate's 5th birthday party. RSVP to either a phone number or email. I was a busy, working mom and didn't really know the family well, so I RSVP'd via email. We got to the party to find 3 generations of family members and just one party guest, my daughter. Mom was busy (and exhausted) with a young baby, so dad was in charge of the party. Ours was the only acceptance so they cancelled the kids party, but forgot to let us know. They insisted we stay until the birthday boy opened his presents and we had a nice time. A bit awkward, though!

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  46. So sorry for your son. Praying next year his party turns out amazing; amazing and awesome just like the little guy he is. But I will make sure I RSVP from now on also. An I am truly touched he still gave out the goody bags; that show how wonderful his character it is. An I believe it will only get better with his age; along with his sense of humor keep up the amazing job y'all are doing.

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  47. I would totally blame parents when their kids say they'll go and end up not following through. My faughter turned 4 this summer, and the only people she knows are family and the daughter of a friend of mine. I knew that the friend wouldn't make it because they were out of state visiting family that day, but even some of oyr family didn't show up. It would have been worse, but my mom invited a friend of hers to bring his 3 girls at the last minute. One guest only stayed for an hour, and didn't even get to participate because no one else was here yet. It's polite to at least notify someone, either the birthday kid at school or ring up the parents if you can't come. If a parent isn't comfortable sending their kid to a stranger's house, then go along with the kid! I would never send my daughter off on her own, even at 9. I go where she goes.

    I'm also a little bitter at 3 of my siblings because they IOUd a gift, but never followed through for their niece.

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  48. Is there any way we can send him a birthday card to cheer him up? Would love to be able to do that.

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    1. She added a P.O. Box to the comments above

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    2. She added a po box

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  49. Wow! Thanks so much for this. I'm 21 years old and understand that this is so important. I remember being young and people not calling saying they would come. The nervousness I felt was undescribable until the day finally came. A lot of people in my generation are so inconsiderate and unaware of things like this, so thank you so much for sharing this article. This speaks to me as a young person too even though I don't have kids, but I will some day in the future. Like you said, other events besides birthday parties deserve an RSVP too. My heart goes out to your sweet son and your family. He is obviously very strong and an all around genuine person. This situation will only make him stronger in the end. Keep encouraging him as I'm positive you already do. God bless.

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  50. I also have a son who just turned 9, and we have been through the birthday party/lack of RSVPs several times! I'm so sorry your sweet son had to experience such pain. We're older parents, having adopted our son (who started out as our grandson, lol), when he was born. So it's been a long time since we did the birthday party thing. I was shocked at his first party when I sent out about 10 invitations and two kids showed up, with none having RSVPed. It doesn't help that our son's birthday is in July when school is out. I have notified parents before school ends in June that there will be a party, then follow up with an invitation closer to time, and they still don't show up. For his eighth party, I emailed reminders to people I consider friends (whose kids are in his class), asking them to please let us know if they're going to be there, and they totally ignored those emails. For his ninth birthday party, I told him he could invite three boys. We chose the ones most likely to show up, and I still had to email and text them to get them to come. But they did come and they all had a blast. It just seems to be a thing now to blow off birthday parties. Because of all this, our son attends every party he's invited to, if at all possible. He went to one a couple of weeks ago, and the mother texted me a very shocked sounding thanks when I actually RSVPed. I think the only answer is follow up, follow up, follow up, to make sure they're coming. And give your son a huge hug from me! He sounds so much like my boy, who loves his stuffed Pokemon, still sleeps with his babyhood blanket (which even has a name) and frets that he doesn't have any close friends.

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  51. I am so sorry for M ! This has happened to my grandson twice. I didn't give any more parties. Tell M I would have been there if I had been invited!

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  52. I'm sitting here crying my own eyes out reading this. My own son turns seven soon. He asked for a "real" party last year and like you I promised him that his next birthday would be his year. I have two more days until the RSVP date is here. Not a single person has called and he told me that when he tried to ask the boys at school they would start talking about something else. Everyone keeps telling me that "people these days just show up". When did adults stop realizing what RSVP meant, or lets put aside how rude it all is, but how much it can affect our children by waiting for those who will never show?

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  53. I'm so sorry this happened :( I think it's rude as well not to RSVP. Whenever my kids would get invites I always RSVP'd to them. I agree about that possibly they could have misplaced their invitations and some parents may not have known about the party. That does happen sometimes but I wouldn't think that would be the case for all of the kids that he invited. Just know that it can happened at public places as well. We had a skating party for our daughter and the minimum amount to invite was 10 which includes the birthday child. So she could only invite 9 if we went with the minimum. That's the cheapest party package rate anyway. So we didn't get very many RSVP's. We still had to pay though for the amount of kids we invited which I don't think is right. I did the same thing though and gave the invitations to my daughter to pass out to her friends. We did that two weeks in advance to give people enough time to plan. As the party date approached we still didn't receive very many replies so I had a feeling that not many were going to come. Some of the kids did the same and said they were coming but did not show up. So next time we plan a party we will probably mail them out if we are able to get the addresses of the children. I'm glad though that your son did end up having a great day at the end bowling! I hope next time that he will have a great party with all of his friends!

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  54. This reminds me of the year we stopped having parties, spent so much time and money but my son has disabilities, not one child showed up even the ones that RSVPd my son cried all day and that was the last party we ever had now we take family trips out of town! To a new place every year

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  55. I am so sorry this happened! When I was younger I was always so excited to get invited to birthday parties and I always had to make sure that my mom knew that I had a party to go to even if I was only 4 of 10 that went but I always made sure to let my friend know that I was going, but the fact that those kids said they were going and didn't show up is what gets me. I really think those parents knew about it because birthday parties were the biggest deal for kids and you don't stop talking about it until after you attend the party, but they didn't bother. They don't understand how their actions affected your family. At least a family friend came by to help celebrate. I hope next year your son's party can be amazing because he deserves to be so happy.

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  56. Yes, I know this feeling all to well... this happened to me... in high school.... I was holding and end of year pool party of my soccer team and because alcohol and under aged drinking want not involved only one boy showed up... we swam but it was awkward and he left ASAP!! Not even my best friend showed up!! I was devastated and i was already a super self conscious child!!! I didn't have another party until graduation and that was because my mom made me but it was for mostly family and my boyfriend (who is now my husband!!) I am SO fearful holding parties for my children and they are still age 4 and under!!! They have A LOT of cousins that always come to parties but I know at some point "friends" will come into play and I'm seriously avoiding it like the plague!!! Even though we plan on homeschooling too!! I'm so sorry that happened to your son but he is handling it with so much respect!! He is MY role modle!!!

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  57. We would love to send him a big birthday card if you do get a PO box. We have a big fluffy Goldendoodle named, McGee, and we could address it from him :)

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  58. Do you have somewhere I can send him a birthday card or gift, please ? I was that kid that had the party and no one came.. but I was 11 at the time. If you're not comfortable with that, I understand !

    Thank you,
    Tiffany ��

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  59. Were is this family from... I have a wonderful nine year old who love this book series and is always down for a new feiend

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  60. This broke my heart to read...I've been there. As an overweight child in a private school (there was nothing "Christian" about it) , I remember many birthdays having no one show up. You're right. He'll remember that forever, and I am so very sorry. Thank you for writing this and speaking out. No child should ever go through a birthday party where no one comes. Your son seems like such a wonderful kid and I pray he'll grow into a wonderful adult, and that God will send him friends that will lift him up and be there for him forever.

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  61. This just breaks my heart. It happened to me a few times as a child and also as an adult. I just had my birthday sunday and it seems like everyone that is close to me made other plans. I would love to send a small gift box of creations i have made to your son. Please email me at Kristysfeltcreations@gmail.com. to know I am legit you can visit my FB page Forever Felt & More and contacte through there. I just want your son to feel some extra joy and know people care about him. I would be as heart broken as you if it happened to either of my boys.

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  62. This just breaks my heart. It happened to me a few times as a child and also as an adult. I just had my birthday sunday and it seems like everyone that is close to me made other plans. I would love to send a small gift box of creations i have made to your son. Please email me at Kristysfeltcreations@gmail.com. to know I am legit you can visit my FB page Forever Felt & More and contact me through there. I just want your son to feel some extra joy and know people care about him. I would be as heart broken as you if it happened to either of my boys.

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  63. I'm so sorry! Please tell him Happy Belated Birthday and his decorations were great! I really get annoyed when I ask for a RSVP and don't get it, for anything that I do. When my grandson or I get any sort of invitation and they ask for a RSVP, I ALWAYS make it point to do so. Some things do require planning. There are some people who don't understand the importance of an RSVP. But there are also some kids who may not pass the invitation along to their parents. It is very frustrating.

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  64. HI There! Your Story was compelling. I feel for M. Its not his fault and Parties can be tricky. If i may give my opinion not that it was asked for. There is fault on both sides. I'm going to be honest i am protective of my children and make it habit to know the parents of my children's friends. If i don't know the parent and i didn't get a call about the party where i am at ease that my child is in good hands they dont go. The scenarios are endless of what could have happpend and no one is to blame. I this was a learning experience for you and next year things will be completely different. i cant wait to read about his bday experience nest year. Your son will be fine you guys made him feel special on his day and that is all. He will have great bdays to come. Mom, hopefully with one year in next year you have gotten to know the kids moms around your community to where you have contact info of parents to ensure this doesnt happen again. I was moved by your story and the brave young man you have. i just want to hug him and show some love but you guys did that :) Like someone above mentioned if you have a P.O Box would love to write a letter to M. p.s mom i know that if your son breaks you break i feel your pain as well. But it must of made you proud how he handled this situation!

    Best of luck and many good days ahead of you! -

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  65. I am so sorry. =( It breaks my heart. I had a similar situation happen to my 12 year old son this year. We moved from TX to NC and this is the first year we sent invitations to his classmates. None showed up or RSVP'd. Luckily we have neighbors that brought extra kids for us. I am an invitation designer, and I always recommend adding an email address and to the RSVP too. I have also seen some parents say, "Regrets only" in lieu of RSVP. It's common courtesy to let the party host know if you are coming. Unfortunately, you never know who will show up. We put so much time and effort to make our children's birthday special. I hope others will read this and realize what they did wrong. PS: Love your website! Very colorful!

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  66. Sadly we face this EVERY SINGLE BIRTHDAY for both of my older children 8 & 4 :'(

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  67. This breaks my heart to read :( when I was a little girl most of my friends parents, and my parents always put an "RSVP by:" and then a date, usually a couple days before the party. Perhaps that would help at all? I think since it gives people a deadline they are more likely to respond. Again so sorry this happened to your sweet boy!! All the best xx.

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  68. Hi M!
    My name is Caitlyn and My daughter Bella turned 7 today! This happened to my her before as well on her 55th birthday and it was not fun, for her it me and her dad. But you know what? You are a very special kid with a very special family who love you too! I can guarantee that if we lived near you I'm sure we would have come to that party of yours and had a blast (my girls really love pizza!)
    Happy 9th Birthday M! The Martin family in Illinois sends lots of love your way!

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  69. My children come home with invitations a few times throughout the year and honestly I never go. Reading this makes me feel awful about that. In my mind I'm thinking about these parties with tons of people I don't know and feeling extremely awkward. I am a shy person which makes it even more awkward. I honestly have never thought of it from this point of view and my heart breaks for your baby. I think I may try to push myself to accept one of those invitations. I just threw one away this week but after reading this I think I'm going to try to get that info from my sons teacher and take him. Again, I'm sorry about your baby's experience but I truly appreciate this point of view.

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  70. So sad! I'm so sorry this happened to him.

    A really good idea you might want for next time (my parents did this for all of my birthdays) is only invite his favorite one to two kids and take them to six flags or the coolest water park. It ends up about 65-100 bucks which is probably less than a party and saves the kid from being crushed and gives them an incredibly special and memorable birthday and deepens the bonds with the one or two he spent the day with. You can ensure they come and they will be excited to. All the pictures and memories from these are still so important to me, I felt like a million bucks at the time. My two best friends from childhood are still my best friends today and we speak almost daily still and are now in our 30's. I learned quality over quantity and even for my wedding decided to do the same and took my best friends to Hawaii to attend my wedding instead of getting married locally and having to buy dinner for 100 acquaintances.

    I would just tell him it's not that he isn't popular, he is very well liked, it's just that sometimes parents are trying to have money from buying gifts for kids they don't know because it adds up if they did it for every kid in class and because sometimes parents are lazy (but don't repeat that) and want to spend the weekend at home not driving anywhere or doing anything even though their child would have had fun. Some people probably actually did have other plans. So yeah, let him know it was them and not him.

    Anyway, give that sweet boy a hug from everyone because we are all rooting for him <3

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  71. My 9 yr old son would love to send yours a birthday card and maybe begin a pen pal friendship. He loves Diary of a Wimpy Kid too! Please let me know a where we can send a card and letter.

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  72. My family would love to send this sweet boy a birthday card if possible. We unfortunately have experienced this type of situation before and the pain that they feel is the absolute HARDEST thing to watch. My stomach turns just thinking back to watching my son go through that. Your son reminds me so much of my 6 year old son. So sensitive, caring, & genuinely kind hearted in a way that the world truly needs more of. My email is chavana_2010@hotmail.com. Please email me because like I said, we would LOVE to send your sweet boy a birthday card.

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  73. My sons and I would love to send a birthday package for him from Alabama! Please let me know if you get a PO Box.

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    1. Thank you so much Ashley! I just added a PO Box at the bottom of my post :)

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  74. I am so sorry this happened to your little guy. Hopefully your post will make people realize the hurt feelings they are causing.

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  75. Did you ever end up setting up a P.O Box? I would love to send your sweet son a card from my husband, son, and me! Our hearts go out to you and you family, sweet mama!

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  76. Was about to ask about the P.O Box and saw you added one! We're sending some love for your little guy from Atlanta, GA!

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  77. WHEN IS HIS BIRTHDAY AND PLEASE REPLY WITH THE P.O BOX

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  78. While I feel bad for your family and the fact that the birthday did not work out as planned, I would like to point out some mistakes that could have been avoided. FYI, I am a parent of two children.
    1. You have not met any of these parents in person, therefore they have no obligation to you as a 'friend' because they do no know who you are. You SHOULD have reach out to the parents directly, tell them that you are new to the school, and ask if there kids could attend.
    2. With that in mind, the RSVP situation is the same. If you do not know who the parents are, there is no obligation to respond to the RSVP. For you to assume that everyone would attend is silly.
    3. In addition, with your child being previously home-schooled, I think it is dangerous for you to set the precedent that all the kids in his class are his friends. As his parent, you must be aware that those kids already have friendships established and you will have to work with your child to establish friendships. At this age, many of the kids are friends because their respective parents are at least acquaintances.

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    1. These are the thoughts you we moved to share? You attitude reflects why this situation happened. Smh

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    2. Anonymous, that is just ugly. Have you read the article on social engineering our kids and how it harms their relationships and leaves kids out? Sounds like you need to.

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    3. I think you're misreading the intent here. It seems to me that the purpose of this is to share what a wake up call it was for her of the importance of the RSVP. I don't see where the original poster said that she assumed everyone was coming or that they were OBLIGATED to RSVP ... just that doing so could have avoided the whole situation. P. S. Life is better when you're kind. 😊

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    4. I agree. That person's attitude is horrendous. She never said that she assumed everyone would it attend, she said that her son told her 5 people said they were going to attend.

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    5. Also, never at any point in time did the mother indicate that she told her son everyone in the class would be his friend. This person has a very negative attitude, I hope they don't have children that they reflect it upon

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    6. I'm sorry to say but NOT knowing a a parent is not an excuse to not RSVP. That's horrible behavior and rude. Are you teaching your children only friends deserve respect? That would not be the lesson I would want to teach my kids, but then again maybe that's what's wrong, parents teaching children it is ok to only care about yourself. I have 3 step-kids (16, 12 and 10) and their mom has done this and we have made it clear it's not acceptable. We make sure, for every single invitation that comes in, we RSVP almost immediately. If it's moms day, we remind the kids they need to have mom RSVP. Dates/times are written on the calendar and the invitation goes on the fridge. It's really not all that difficult. I get life happens but to justify such blatant rudeness says a lot.

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    7. Ok sure, she could have kept those points in mind. Call her optimistic. But don't you think she's devastated enough for her child without you having to spread your unnecessary opinions? In any case, I really hope M has the best of birthdays in the future with the many friends I know he'll have!

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  79. When is his birthday and what's the P.O BOX address, he's a good soul and he deserves to know. Even if his friends there don't care, other souls do. He's going to grow up and do good in the world and i want him to know that he has support and love

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  80. Life is busy and if these children never came over before as a parent I would be reluctant to send my child unless it was a public place. As now days you can't trust everyone, meaning the adults of the household. The parents of this child should have stepped up and called or somehow got ahold of the other parents and had spoken directly instead of leaving it up to a 10 yo.

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    1. I agree. This is the responsibility of the boys parents. At least get the phone numbers of the children that were invited.

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  81. sadly I know exactly how you feel.. I have a soon to be 8 year old and he as of yet has not had a major birthday party where kids come.. Last year no one came and so my older sons and their friends all went out of their way and brought the lil man bowling.. The reason why we have such issues with parties for him is one cause weather never know if it is gonna snow and secondly his birthday is exactly 7 days from Christmas. So everyone is always use with holiday parties and doing their own traditions with their kids that it makes it very difficult for us. My children are also homeschooled but they are involved in many other outlets to make friends. But these are our struggles that we have on our sons birthday.

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  82. I am the parent of 2 college-age kids with ASDs and anxiety. We've been on both sides of the fence with this issue and I feel for you. It's been a couple of days - how are you all doing? How did the return to school go for him? Maybe I could suggest Scouts and 4-H as potential activities for M? They did wonders for my kids, who also faced many moves with a military associated family. In fact, they both have lifelong friends in multiple countries from those late elementary and middle school activities.

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  83. I read this story and felt bad for the child. But before ever condemning the invitees and their parentals, you might want to see this as a life lesson. Even on a day that is supposed to honor us (our birthday), we may have no one there for us (as in guests and friends and invitees, etc) -- but this is okay. What is important is what we do with our day and how we deal with the situation. It appears as though M already has Grace and People-Intuition. Clearly he thinks of others and knows how things work out. Show him how blessed he was -- he has a family who wanted to celebrate with him and want to give him a party. He actually got to have a birthday party (despite the lack of guests). Trust me, there are some people who never had a party and most likely never will. There are some people whose friends don't even remember their birthday. He had a good time with the people who mean the most -- and that might just have to be enough.

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  84. I am all too familiar with this situation and feel for your son. For my 3rd grade birthday party no one came. I can still vividly remember the pit in my stomach slowly forming as the minutes ticked by with no one coming. It turns out another girl had told everyone not to come. It was soul crushing. It's been over 20 years and I still feel anxiety whenever I am in charge of an event. I still worry that no one will come. Please encourage your son to work through this now and realize that birthday parties shouldn't determine how he feels about himself. Because they don't! No one showing up for a birthday party doesn't change the unique and special qualities your son has to offer the world. Hang in there! It's a traumatizing experience for a mother (as my own mother can attest). You are a good mom simply for caring and trying!

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  85. I'm sorry, but what do you as a mom not "get" about children and birthday parties? You were not "new" to the horrid rudeness of people you call friends. My heart hurts for your son, but mostly because his mom doesn't get it and keeps planning parties without checking on the guest list. Girl, if my invitees don't respond about 5 days out, I call them. I text them. I hunt them down. No, it shouldn't be necessary, but it is....if you want to keep your child and yourself sane. Anyone who doesn't RSVP to a party to which I invite them, (if I know they got it) will never be invited back. And I would never let my kids bring a goody bag to a kid who turned their back on him. You need to grow a backbone and quit sobbing in your bed because you think he's a loser. He's only doing what you're teaching him to do. Sorry if this hurts, but maybe it should. Wishing your son better friends and a better plan for the future birthdays.

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  86. My heart goes out to your son and his family!!! I know that pain. Same thing happened to my grandson. But like your son he got upset but rationalized to us and himself maybe why they couldn't make it!!! We took him to his skating party anyway and had a blast....so sad.lots of love. Happy Birthday Peanut!!!!

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  87. I am so very sorry this happened to your son! He sounds like he is an absolutely amazing kid! One I'd be proud to have my kids be friends with! I hope his 10th and beyond birthdays are absolutely amazing!

    I know we had 2 parties the first two weekends after school started and one of them, my daughter barely knew. She knew nothing about him. I am so glad we went though!

    Next year will be my daughter's year :) I want to do something extremely special for her. We don't do parties because her birthday is during Thanksgiving vacation. If we are still in Oregon, and we are able to do the party, I'd love to invite your family, especially your son, as I think he would absolutely love it.

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  88. i just had that happen to my 9 year old on oct 22nd only 2 people showed no one rsvp.it broke her heart because classmates told her they were coming and never showed.even family friends said they would then last minute cancelled. this is the second time this has happened to us.It does make me not wanna do any parties anymore and just take her somewhere for her birthday.I am so sorry your son had to go through this i will definitely send him a card.Hope it will cheer him up knowing there are people out there that do care alot.

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  89. Hi there. I was a little heartbroken to hear your Story. I was bullied for a lot of school and know what feeling unloved by ur peers feels like but you seem like an amazing family who did all they could to make his special day special anyway. Did any of the parents get back to u with explanations or apologies?

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  90. Feel for your beautiful boy and your family. You all sound amazing and sounds like you made his day special anyway. I was bullied a lot through school and know how it feels to feel unloved by your peers at such a tender age. Did the parents ever get back to you with explanations or apologies? X

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  91. May have accidentally posted twice, sorry 😊

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  92. I am so sorry your son experienced this. I have a son who sounds very similar, and my heart would have broken, too. In fact, we had a similar experience when my oldest turned 15, and we had moved to a new area. None of the "new" friends came, and he refused to have a party when he turned 16. It did break my heart as a mom. I have another thought. I have noticed that fewer kids are going to classmate's parties these days. My kids always go to the parties they are invited to unless we have a conflict (and I always RSVP). But it seems like all the parties where the whole class is invited have maybe 5 show up? It is almost as if parents can't be bothered to take their kids to parties for other kids they don't know well. It is very disappointing.

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  93. How can you blame the parents or the kids? I wouldn't have sent my daughter over to the party either for a kid who has only been in town and school for a month.

    A public place party maybe. This isn't any bodies fault.

    Plus maybe you should have touched base personally with the parents. Kids lose stuff, invitations get lost in bags and the shuffle.

    Sorry your kid got disappointed but you kind of set him up for it.

    My youngest is now 13 yr old and I till touch base with the parents before any outing or party she is going to. And when she has a party I call the families myself and give the information

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  94. I am so sorry for what he went through. No child should experience such a thing. Please know I will be praying for him and the rest of the family. May the Lord continue to pour down his blessing on each and everyone of you. God Bless!!!!

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  95. I have a 10year old son myself, and from day one he has been socially different. With his birthday in June we don't get to have parties for him because he only socializes with kids at school. However I can't imagine if we did and that happened to my son, it would crush me as well. Thank you so much for sharing your story, because with everyday schedules, we as parents don't think about the affect not making the time to take our kids to another child's party could affect the birthday child.

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  96. Please don't ask the teacher to help with the spring party, even by handing out invitations. They're so busy as it is, and it's not appropriate to get them involved with personal affairs. Thanks!

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  97. I would have showed up. I know that sounds horribly cleshay but your story absolutely broke my heart. I couldn't help but put my own child in your son's shoes.

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  98. Ten years ago we invited the whole class to celebrate my daughters birthday at a park where we were camping. There were playgrounds, camp fires, smores, etc. One person came (out of 28) and when no one else came, the one asked to go home. My daughter was confused, but found other things to do. I was devastated. I still get upset when I think about that time. On the other hand, at 18, now when she is invited to something, she always rsvp's. And, if there is a last minute change, she still communicates with her friends. She is a very, very dedicated and loyal young lady. <3 <3 <3

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  99. Have you ever considered inviting his teachers as well?? I am a teacher and have attended multiple birthday parties for my students. Not every teacher is able/willing to do this but I like to make an appearance for at least a little bit! Teachers are also a great resource when wanting to contact other parents to see if they plan to attend. Just a suggestion for the future! :)

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  100. Thank you so much for sharing this story. It really had me crying. My nephews 6th birthday party is this Saturday and I was thinking of not going. He isn't going to miss his aunt not being there, but after reading this it really made me realize how important showing up for a child really is. What's your son's favorite cartoon character? Does he like any super heros?

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  101. So very sorry for this sweet boy. Even though my children are grown I experienced this same situation this summer with my daughters wedding shower. I had expected more family and friends to show up. It's so very rude not to RSVP..foever a mom

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  102. Although this cannot change his 9th birthday, we're just over in Portland and I have a 6 year old daughter who also loves Pokémon (I noticed the hat!) we're certainly available for play dates or parties. My heart aches for him so much. And for him to still think of his classmates & bring their goodie bags to class is incredible. He's a special little guy ❤️

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  103. Although this cannot change his 9th birthday, we're just over in Portland and I have a 6 year old daughter who also loves Pokémon (I noticed the hat!) we're certainly available for play dates or parties. My heart aches for him so much. And for him to still think of his classmates & bring their goodie bags to class is incredible. He's a special little guy ❤️

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  104. Hello Kristen from Austin, Tx. I am just torn up for your son and for you and your husband. I got really emotional looking at your pictures and reading about his excitement and then heartbreak. I am so sorry you had to endure this with Mahlon. I saw your Bend, Oregon address and looked up bowling alleys in Bend and found Lava Lanes. The pics on the Lava Lanes website look like the lanes in the picture you posted soooo... Mahlon has a $25 gift card waiting for him at Lava Lanes :). I just called and paid for it over the phone and they said he can pick it up and use it there whenever he wants. I'll be sending him a bday card with a note telling him he has a $25 gift card at Lava Lanes waiting for him. I only hope his can brighten his day and make him feel special as he looks and sounds like the most special kid ever! I have a son too and can't imagine what y'all had to go thru. Hope this week gets easier and enjoy going bowling again-on us :)
    -Val, Brent & Cade from Austin, Tx :)

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  105. God bless you! This hurts just reading it and I can't imagine what you felt. Be expecting a card from Nashville, TN :)

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  106. Also Kristen, I didn't know your last name so I told the bowling alley it's for Mahlon k. Payne.

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  107. I am so sorry that happened to your son/family. My heart is so sad for him, and it really hit one of my nerves because I can't quit crying. People are so inconsiderate. Regardless of the timing of his birthday it is not ok. I am sending love and prayers that your sweet son soon has many many friends and never has to feel that hurt again.

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  108. Hi. After reading your story and comments on your reader's responses, I just want to say that I am beyond impressed with your understanding and humble attitude about what happened to your M. It is no wonder that he behaved so well considering how painful it must have been for him. No doubt that you are very proud of him, but as a mother I am proud of you and thank you for the classy example you have displayed in your own reaction. Thank you for sharing this. I always try to RSVP, but am guilty of taking others for granted and appreciate you sharing your story to remind us of how painful neglecting etiquette can be. Please wish your little guy a belated Happy Birthday from Paoli, Indiana. I am sure, with your guidance and support, that this hurtful memory will stay with him, but expect M will be more empathetic and a better person because of it. God bless you and your family. J.M.

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  109. Even though that stressfull day happened to your family. M learned how to make the best of a bad situation and that will carry with him forever (given I don't know him but that is what I interpreted from this). Even though he will always remember his ninth birthday the person he will eventually blossom into wouldn't be the same without that important event. Life isn't a straight road that's how we get shaped into who we are by all the curves and bends and loops we take.

    I agree with you on the RSVP. That is a must and everyone should RSVP out of respect. I too had a few birthday (I moved from state to state) where no one showed up and that's when I realized I don't need friends to impress to have fun I just need my family.

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  110. I'm so sorry this happen to your little boy n my breaks for him n mom n dad I can imagine how u guys felt. What cruel world we live in. I'm so glad he enjoyed going bowling

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  111. I'm so sorry this happen to your little boy n my breaks for him n mom n dad I can imagine how u guys felt. What cruel world we live in. I'm so glad he enjoyed going bowling

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  112. I completely feel your pain. The exact same thing happened to my child as well. Her birthday is about a week after school is out and not a single person showed up. It was so heartbreaking. I ALWAYS make my kids RSVP and wish more people did as well. She pretended to not care, but I caught her crying in her room. I've come to the realization that if people don't RSVP, they will not come even if they tell your child they will.

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  113. For the third time this school year (so about 8 weeks) my 7 year old daughter has come skipping home asking me why I didn't tell her about her friends' upcoming birthday parties. Telling her we hadn't received invitations, emails, notes, phone calls, heck, even smoke signals, has been so difficult. We invite the whole class in hopes of a few showing up. We've been lucky in that regard. These beautiful, tender-hearted kiddos are learning in such tough ways way too soon. Sending hugs and prayers!

    You are a great mom. Thanks for posting as it is good to know I am not alone in my worries for my kiddo! We have struggled about how to handle parties. We hear we should invite the age, meaning, when she is 8 we invite 8 kids. We think about all the girls or the whole class. Watching her get left out over and over and over again, I hate these rules.

    Hope the year improves for you and your little guy. I will keep you all in my prayers!

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  114. I'm so sorry this happened to your son, it's devastating at the time! This happened to me when I was in 2nd grade. My Mom planned a huge party for me, even bought me a special dress and no one came. We had moved to the neighborhood just 3 months prior so I guess people just didn't feel we were that good of friends to attend. I have photos very similar to the ones you posted, of myself. We laugh about it now...I will be 50 in a couple of months. It did forever change how I feel about birthday's and now I don't make a big deal about them even for my kids...maybe that's a defense mechanism, never thought about it. Prayers for your family and continued blessings that you have each other!

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  115. We moved to the PNW in the summer of 2016, and my son is a Sept. birthday. My kids ride the bus, and I had just gone back to work, so for the first time I didn't know his classmates and wasn't physically at his school. Two children from his class RSVPd that year, and only 1 came. Fortunately I invited everyone I know with children (although the kids didn't know my child, but my friends rallied and even brought neighbor kids) when so few responded, and it was ok, but I really think it's a combination of being new and this area. People just are kind of solitary. This year we had a party at a venue and most of the invited kids showed up (about half rsvpd). I do think part of it was people not wanting to send their kid to a stranger's house. I am sorry your son experienced that. I don't know who Kelly is but she must have lived in the same place her entire life. Schools don't just give you a list of everyone in the class and their phone numbers! If you are new to an area and your child has a fall birthday, what are you supposed to do? In retrospect, I guess my answer should have been have a party at a public venue. I don't really know many more parents now (despite being involved in the PTA as much as I can given my job), but a lot more people seemed willing to risk it at a public place.

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  116. This breaks my heart. Like seriously please tell him that I would love to be his friend and come to his birthday party. I'm not just saying that either. He seems like such a great and sweet kid who deserves to have tons of friends and I genuinely hope that he finds them one day. I'm positive that he will. Also, I'm in college and I also love Diary of a Wimpy kid. It rocks.

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  117. Yall are so blessed to have such an amazing young man as a son! It takes a lot for a person to overcome their own heartache, hurt, or anger! An expecially to overcome it an be so positive an caring to think of the ones an want to do nice by the ones he was let down by! This broke my heart to read an also filled me with warmth! I have had a run With only family parties due to noone coming & that was even with rsvp saying they would be there... all you can do is make the best of it an surround our babies with love as yall did! From one mom to another
    yall have done a great job raising your son! I wish yall the best! An i hope he has the best party next time! <3

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  118. I can't even imagine your pain you're going through. Don't be too hard on yourself. You didn't fail as a parent. You raised such an amazing, kind, and gentle little boy. I bet he will be the best example for your newborn. My heart hurts for your son, if I lived close and my son wasn't only 3 months old I would come make friends with your family. You sound like a beautiful family. After this heart breaking story I will always remember to reply even if I cannot go. Thank for you sharing. Good things will come to your son <3

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  119. Well I ugly cried after reading this and then decided to make sure I'm never one of those parents. Had a similar experience at my own birthday party growing up. Your son will grow to be a stronger, more empathic, caring man because of this experience. Bless your families heart and wish him a Happy Belated Birthday from Spokane,WA.

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  120. Your son sounds exactly like my son, plush collection and all! He has aspergers and doesn't always understand situations that happen around him but,he tries to remain optimistic and happy. He never plays with other kids in our neighborhood. I encouraged him today to play with a couple of kids outside. I watched as he was rejected and he slowly rode his scooter back to our driveway. It broke my heart and I held it together until he went back in the house. He's never invited any kids from school to any of his birthday parties. I'm terrified that if this situation happened and no one came, he would be crushed. I'm going to explain your story to him and ask him to send M a birthday card. I know how special a small token of acknowledgement can mean to a child. Mothers have to be stronger than we ever knew we could. If we could take away all the pain,we would. ❤ Happy Birthday sweet "M" - you don't even know how many people care about you,even if we don't know you. You deserve all the best things this life has to offer. ❤

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  121. Kindly let the other parents know that it isn't cool what they've done.

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  122. This really breaks my heart. I cried and I don't even know you or your son. In a world full of negative, seeing all these sweet people commenting brightens my day just a little. I would love to send him a birthday present. No 9 year old should ever feel like that. Let me know, seriously we will send something. I have a 10 month old and my husband is deployed so we are always looking for something to do! We decorate care packages for my husband and would love to do that for you!

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  123. This is just heartbreaking. I don't have children but when I do I will make sure we will RSVP and stick to it (where possible, obviously things can come up). Especially when 5 children had told him that they were coming - what happened there!!! Absolutely terrible and I'm so sorry to hear that this happened to your son. It's disappointing enough as an adult when people don't make the effort to RSVP or bother contacting to say in fact they can't make it (as recently occurred on both engagement party and housewarming).. but for a 9 year old? :( :( :(

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  124. For the love of God, PLEASE take your address down! Get a P.O. Box if you want him to get letters!

    You have just exposed your son to a countless number of threats.
    He can easily be picked out and abducted now. People know where he lives, his name, his school, and they've had a look into his private life and the things he likes.

    I'm begging you, PLEASE get rid of the personal information you've put up before your boy ends up gagged in a van where he'll be sold off to some monster. Please.

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  125. My children grew up much the same way and when my daughter had her 10th birthday, we rented out the roller rink, she invited all the kids at her little school and only one showed up. This devastated her!!! So we didn't have anymore big parties for her again for a while, then she moved to public school just this year and opted to try again. I was anxious and worried for her, none of them had made any confirmation, then one confirmed... One! I had a two tier cake made, tons of food, and a really scared 13yr old girl. She invited all the kids from her old school again and 5 from her new - several told her they couldn't make it, but most gave no reply at all. I started calling fill in families. Fluff kids - she wanted the presence of people not gifts, she wanted to feel like people cared about her. Blessedly four of her friends showed up, one showed to drop off a gift and a hug, another called after the party to say they couldn't make it but would make it up to her, and I was able to pick up one fluff kid. This turned out to be enough for my daughter. She was still a little sad that once again none of her old friends had come - seems that is their way. Overall though, she was happy enough with the turn out and tween and teen girls can eat a lot of cake!!! I'm still broken hearted that none of her friends came, that her old teacher IGNORED my message and plea to reach out to the other parents. She didn't even say no, she just acted like she never saw the message. Your boy will make friends, and maybe a few will actually show in the years that follow. That is my hope for him and for all my children as well. Best wishes and happy belated birthday bud!

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  126. Oh sweet boy! I'm so sorry your birthday got all messed up. I really hope you had a good time bowling. It made me sad to know you'd been let down. Hope your 10th birthday is super special just like you!!

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  127. Unfortunately this doesn't change in adulthood. I'm 30 and just had a huge expensive Halloween party but no one I invited came. A whole bunch of people came from my husbands side but even people who RSVP'd to me didn't show up who I invited. I ended up,staying inside the house with my mom and three month old. I have to say though I'm used to this. I was not homeschooled but I was always very comfortable with adults and told I was extremely mature for my age. I do not have friends my age and have little to talk about with my generation but have great relationships I value with people who are my parents age. Maturity is a gift especially amongst the youth. I hope my baby girl turns out as great as him. He will turn into a successful adult.

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  128. This happened to my youngest daughter about 10 years ago. And not only did I include RSVP info that no one responded to, I called each parent the day before and was soured their child/children would be there. After all that no one showed. I don't think parents realize how much this hurts the child and their parents--I think I was more upset for my daughter than she was!

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  129. Those parents and kids were rude, but you have to stop making excuses. You have excuses for why you've made no effort to get to know the other parents, excuses for why you've made no effort to find extracurricular activities for your son aside from his martial arts, excuses why you didn't contact the guests when they didn't RSVP. Stop making excuses and start making the effort to become a part of the community. It will be a very good thing for your son.

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