Mummy blogger Kristen Layne shared the story of her 9-year old son Mahlon’s birthday on her blog, Life on Peanut Layne, to remind us all the importance of RSVPing to birthday events.
Mahlon was enjoying his first year at school – he had previously been home educated – and had invited all his classmates to his birthday party.
His mum had ordered a ton of Diary Of A Wimpy Kid party stuff (Mahlon’s fave) like a cake topper and custom invitations, and had spent hours on Pinterest looking for games to fit the theme.
Kristen wrote about how special an event it was for Mahlon, because his parties in the past had mainly just involved adults and his siblings. He was just so excited to actually have school friends to invite.
“This ninth birthday was supposed to be his year. His special day. His first real party with friends,” Kristen wrote.
But what happened next is just so horrible – we could barely get through Kristen’s blog post without shedding a tiny tear.
“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,” Kristen explained. “Ah, the excitement of the impending birthday party – there’s nothing like it.”
Mahlon had even chosen his party outfit, made up party bags for his friends and tidied his room all ready for them, and as the clocked ticked closer to the party time , he told his mum it was the “happiest day” of his life.
“Only three more hours until my friends arrive,” he said. “This is the happiest day of my life, Momma. I can’t wait until my friends get here!”
But then, Kristen says, as they waited, an “unsettling feeling” started to wash over them:
“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,” Kristen wrote.
She then explained that because they were new to the area and she had recently had a baby, she hadn’t had time to chase up the invitations, and just assumed that people just didn’t reply anymore, but would show up because “kids love birthday parties”.
As time passed, little Mahlon even went outside to see if any of his friends were struggling to find their house. But there was no one there.
“No one came. Not a single child,” his mum said.
And when his dad got home with loads of pizza for the party, he opened the door to find only his own very upset son, who told him:
“No one came Dad. I guess I’m not very popular at school.”
Kristen said that although she managed to hold it together in front of Mahlon, she did end up breaking down in the loo, and found it so tough to be strong for him.
Can you imagine?
Yet Mahlon tried to be stoical, and, says Kristen “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.”
And although as a family, they all ate pizza together and then went out bowling, Kristen says the “memory of that disappointment won’t go away. He’ll remember it forever.”
Since sharing the story, some good has come of it all – Kristen says that people have emailed her for her address so they can send Mahlon a birthday card.
But Kristen says the most important thing that people take from her experience is to remember to RSVP to invitations:
“I don’t want to hear anymore stories of heartbroken children, crying alone at their party, thinking nobody cares,” she says.
Nor do we – how long does it take to fire off a text or email to say whether or not your child can attend? Seconds. And seconds that could prevent a whole lot of heartache.
Or give mum and dad some time to come up with a back-up party plan if no one can make it.
This tale will certainly have us paying far more attention to the RSVP section of our kids’ party invites from now on – perhaps even chasing up missing ones, just to be sure.
After all, we all know how easy it is for paper invitations to get lost or forgotten about in the bottom of school bags, or left in coat pockets, but this really is a bit of a wake up call.
Have you ever been in a similar sitch?
Do you always RSVP – or do you prefer to organise things via text/email with the mums in your child’s class? Would you chase up missing RSVPs for your child’s party?
Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.