OK, maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but it was a defining moment for me as a mother. As we were leaving, one of the moms began passing out invitations to her child’s birthday party. As she gave them out, each child opened theirs, and fawned over being invited. After a few minutes, I noticed a couple of kids standing empty-handed. Mine was one of them. My daughter’s best friend was showing off her card, and Hipchick’s eyes were revealing worried anticipation. She was waiting for hers. I saw the empty-handed mother, and figured out that she wasn’t getting one. So with the best smile I could muster, I told her it was time to go.
She stood still with a blank expression. She was waiting for hers. I looked at the mother’s eyes, and gently prompted HipChick again that it was time to go. When we got to the car, I was feeling a little numb. You know that feeling you get when you’re so disgusted you’ll either be paralyzed or completely explode? I decided to stick up for my child, and let the other mom know how hurtful it is to give out invitations right in front of kids who are not invited.
Now this girl is not one of HipChick’s close friends, and it didn’t bother me that she wasn’t invited. You can’t be invited to everything. (I’m still learning that, because I usually invite everybody who wants to come) But I could tell she was devastated by watching her other friends being accepted. Also, this mother has had several conversations with me about her daughter being left out by other kids and how it hurt her so much. Why didn’t she mail them, or give them to the kids’ parents?
So I left HipChick in the car (I didn’t tell her why), went back in, took the mom aside, and told her my feelings. I was very calm and polite, but intense. She could tell I was angry. I said, “I just wanted you to know that this is very hurtful for the kids who are not invited.” If I said anything else, I was afraid I’d go too far.
She replied, “Well, that’s why I was doing it outside the meeting.”
“But right in front of them, though?” My pitch rising much higher at the end.
Then she came out with, “Well, I didn’t think they would open them and read them here.” (Since when have you seen a seven-year-old get a card, and not open it immediately? And how about, “Yeah, I’m so sorry, that was a bad move, and I didn’t think it through. Please forgive me.”)
“Well, you really hurt HipChick’s feelings today,” And I walked away.
As I walked out the door, I composed myself, and walked back to the car with a fake smile. When I got in the car, Hipchick asked, “Why didn’t I get an invitation?” The answer came easy, because I knew there was a rational reason. But rational reasoning never takes away hurt. “She probably could only invite a certain number, and just didn’t have enough space. Like the time you had a sleep-over, and I made you choose only two girls. You wanted to invite the whole class, but you had to chose two.” She seemed to take it OK, but she leaned her head on the window and quietly closed her eyes the whole way home. I spent the trip trying not to cry. My heart literally hurt, and I prayed that she would focus on the good friends she does have, and realize that God accepts her no matter what.
While writing this, I’m wondering if I’m totally exaggerating the drama of the event, but it was such an intense feeling for me as a mother. I don’t know if I did the right thing by confronting the mom. This is new for me. I usually hold in the unpleasant things, and swallow my hurt. I don’t stick up for myself. But when it comes to my children, they need someone who will go to bat for them. I won’t apologize for letting her know how much the incident hurt, and hopefully making her think before being so inconsiderate again.
Have you ever had a situation like this? What did you do?