People who have been Twitter feed already have heard the story, but I thought I’d share it with all of you.
My three year old son planned for a nice birthday party with his closest friends this past Saturday. We planned everything together – he chose the invitation list (four other children), helped us with invitations, helped with decorations, helped us make the cake – everything. He was incredibly excited by the event and was looking forward to it for weeks.
On the Tuesday before the party, one child said she couldn’t come – there was a family situation that weekend. No big deal.
On Thursday, another child cancelled. Stomach flu.
On Friday, a third child cancelled. Again, stomach flu.
On Saturday morning, a half an hour before the party, the last remaining attendee called and cancelled. Again, stomach flu.
I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a child quite so sad. When my wife broke the news to him that no one was coming to his birthday party, he just stood there for a bit, looking utterly heartbroken, then after a minute or two, he broke down in tears and cuddled with his mom.
It is moments like these when I am at my weakest. I probably would have done anything on earth that my child asked for. What did he want to do? He was content to spend the afternoon playing with his train set – his birthday gift from us. The only thing we did differently was to swap our meals around, saving what was to be the lunch served at his birthday party (his favorite food – homemade pizza with TONS of black olives) to supper instead.
It would have been so easy to just buy him something to console him – to solve a social wound through materialism. Instead, we just turned the day into a close family day, where the four of us spent the whole day together. In the end, I think he was still heartbroken – but I also think he felt loved and reassured, too.
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