Updated on 11.12.08

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Saddest Birthday Ever Edition

Trent Hamm

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.

What Is Your Favorite Cultural Activity That Doesn’t Cost Money? This is one of those articles where the article itself isn’t much but it’s generated a bunch of interesting and useful comments. My favorite? Walking the streets of a town and photographing interesting things (architecture, people, events, etc.). (@ carrie and danielle)

Working from Home: What I’ve Learned in 8 Months as a Professional Blogger The stuff J.D. writes about here almost perfectly matches my own experience – and the experience of many people who find a way to work at home with their own microbusiness. (@ get rich slowly)

Holding Yourself Accountable, Part One (Daily), Part Two (Weekly), and Part Three (Long Term) I actually ran across these articles after finishing my article on accountability from yesterday, so this is quite a bit of additional reading on the subject. (@ freelance switch)

Six Simple Steps to Avoid Credit Problems in a Bad Economy Some great, simple advice here that works in a good economy, too. I think many people are panicked right now – it’s important to not lose track of the fundamentals. (@ zen habits)

6 Tips For Small Businesses To Navigate A Tough Holiday Season I forwarded this article to about fifty different people over the last few days. This is good stuff. (@ the digerati life)

Library Fines Got You Down? The Collection Agency is Coming This is one of the drawbacks of using a library – and I’ve been bitten by it a few times. (@ queercents)

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  1. Dave M says:

    I hope you will eventually pick up on the teaching opportunity about flu season and why you should always wash your hands after you use the bathroom. You can skip the epidemiology until he’s a little older.

  2. Laura says:

    Poor little guy! Will you try and reschedule the party for another day?

  3. moneysavingmama says:

    why don’t you have a surprise get together for him with his friends when they are all better.They can come round and play with his train set.

  4. robyn says:

    oh my lord, that’s so sad! poor kid! i like the idea of doing a “make-up” birthday party for him, when his friends are feeling a bit better.

  5. Kim says:

    I always overinvite to my kids parties by double. Unfortunately the last minute cancel is not a fluke. Most parents I know invite the whole class and only have 6-8 kids show up. Many don’t RSVP at all…very frustrating. I’m sorry your little guy got his heart broken.

  6. Erin says:

    I totally think you should rain check the party and have the kids over in a week or two when they are feeling better. Don’t let the little guy go a whole year again without a party.

  7. Ryan McLean says:

    That sucks. I guess it happens to all of us. At least they had good reasons for cancelling. Im sure he will be fine and won’t even remember it in the future.
    It has been a good week on your blog. I have had a good week because I have been on my honeymoon and now I am starting to get back into my entrepreneurs blog and I am starting to make some serious money online.
    Thanks for all your great tips :)

  8. josh says:

    Sorry about the B-Day party…
    This happened to us this year too for our sons 7th…we had a few extra friend we could invite, and it worked out just fine.

    I think I only had a couple of “friend parties” growing up as a kid.. Birthdays were mostly family affairs…

  9. Dave C says:

    I agree with comment #2. Re-scheduling the party with his friends seems like a great option and the decorations can keep.

  10. JohnBoy says:

    That totally stinks. The anticipation level for a three-year old is very high — delayed satisfaction is usually not accepted at that age. I can’t imagine how painful it was for him and you. My wife is still upset about a noshow to our wedding 6 years ago. Hopefully your little one bounces back and you let him have a do-over.

  11. Chris says:

    That is just horrible. Well, some of life’s lessons do come early, unfortunately. I was afraid you were going to write that your son got sick right before his party. I think the other reader was right, it might be nice to have a little get together with a few of the kids in a week or so, once everyone is healthy. That was always one of my fears when the kids had their parties – esp. with the lack of R.S.V.P.

  12. J.D. says:

    Trent, you forgot the best part of the story about your son. I think it’s hilarious. :)

  13. Brandon says:

    That sucks, but I also like the idea of having a get-together when everyone feels better. Of course you could not have offered that at the time and had him understand it, but he will appreciate the effort later.

    If nothing else, just remember that he is probably still too young to remember the traumatic experience lol.

  14. DaveG says:

    My daughter had her sleepover party Saturday also and an hour before the party I had that sinking feeling in my stomach of what if nobody shows??? At 12 it would be at least equally devastating if not more so with the peer pressures at that age. Fortunately all 12 guests showed and all went well. But if they didn’t I know I would do almost anything to help her through that experience. A movie, zap zone, dinner or even shopping at the mall would only cost a small amount and well worth it for that situation. I think there are times when you give in a splurge and that would definitely be one of those times for me.

  15. dana says:

    We had only been in our new house for a couple of months. I invited my son’s entire class to his birthday party and no one showed up. It was so sad until his grandparents, aunts and uncles showed up as a surprise and saved the day.
    I agree on a little gathering later on. You don’t need a reason for a party!

  16. Awe, that’s heartbreaking. It sounds like you guys did a great job making up for it though. Instead of wanting to buy him something I probably would have just offered to take him somewhere really fun so he didn’t have to play by himself.

    Great story.

  17. Battra92 says:

    The simple fact is that life is a string of disappointments. Sadly it seems that he’s learning that a bit younger in life than most and hopefully as he grows older will learn to content himself with the truth that things don’t always go your way and you just have to shrug your shoulders.

    I don’t mean to get philosophical or even depressing but such is this world we live in.

  18. half-baked says:

    Oh my gosh, yes, that is sad. Definitely worth a reschedule!

  19. Awww…poor little guy! I hope you guys are able to do a make-up party.

  20. Courtney says:

    The day before my 7th birthday, *I* got the stomach flu.

    I agree with other commenters, definitely reschedule!

  21. Lissa says:

    Aww… bless his little heart! I actually experienced the same thing for my 10th birthday. We invited a lot of kids, but falling on Memorial Day weekend, they were all out of town. The only two kids that were there were my everyday playmates from across the street. So we just played like we normally would. I was still sad though – such a landmark birthday with no real party. To top it all off, the younger brother of my playmate was running through the house and wound up planting his hand in the middle of my cake. Yeah… that birthday sucked!

    I learned then that since my birthday usually fell around that holiday, I’d never have any real party. At age 30, it’s still true.

    The good news it that he’s young enough that he probably won’t even remember it.

  22. Kevin says:

    Disappointing for sure, but kudos for making the best of a hard situation.

  23. Jen says:

    Poor kid! I’m 26 and still shy, and that sounds like something out of my nightmares. :-) If it’s any consolation, your would-be guests are probably awfully disappointed too. Definitely make plans for another day.

  24. jason says:

    I’m 25 now, and this happened to me as a kid. We had party hats and streamers and everything. My mom forgot to write RSVP on the invitations and nobody showed up. I was really sad, but my parents took me and my younger brother and sister to the movies and then we had pizza. I remember feeling upset, but as a kid I don’t think it affected me any longer than just that day. To be honest, I can’t even remember any weirdness with my friends or anything that as an adult would likely occur.

  25. Jan says:

    Please transmit your son my best wishes for his birthday. I wish him much happiness and hope he’ll grow up to be such an excellent person as his father!

    Jan (Belgium, Europe)

  26. Jan says:

    He may not have had much luck last Saturday, but at least people all over the planet are thinking about him. :-)

  27. Joanna says:

    Interesting news about the library fines. I’ve managed to avoid any thus far mostly because our library has online accounts & actually emails me a reminder that my books are due about 3 days before. Super convenient! And I can renew online so even if by an odd turn of events I’m out of town and cannot return them, I can just renew. I love the library.

  28. That One Caveman says:

    Awww… that just breaks my heart. I know when my 2-year-old daughter breaks down crying (not tantruming), it really tugs at me. I can’t imagine the pure heartbreak of having an empty birthday party.

  29. Steve says:

    Since I have a son just about the same age as yours, picturing that scene really got to me. Life has some tough lessons, to be sure, but it’s even tougher in some ways to witness them as a parent than it is to experience them yourself. It will sound funny to say, but thanks for sharing a sad story since it helps everyone realize they aren’t alone at moments like this – others have suffered through them, too. Happy (belated) birthday to your son!

  30. Rob says:

    People who dont have kids have utterly no clue how gut wrenching it was to watch him deal with that heartbreak, that your son felt. Its not a small thing. But…as others have said, a suprise makeup party would be good.

  31. Tyler says:

    Ugh, there is nothing sadder than baby disappointment. I remember recently my 3-year-old dropped his lollipop on the ground where it shattered into a million pieces, and he responded like he had just lost his best friend. On one hand I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, but I just felt SO bad for him.

  32. KC says:

    Definitely reschedule the party. I wouldn’t expect gifts and I might not go whole hog as far as cake, decorations and stuff. But have the kids over for a big play date in the near future when everyone is feeling better.

    It still sounds like it was a good day. I’m amazed your kid eats black olives, but in that situation he’s get all the black olives he wanted.

  33. Chelsea says:

    I’m so sorry about your son’s birthday party. Maybe those of us with kids could send him some birthday email? My dd (4) always likes pictures of kids even if she doesn’t know who they are.

  34. Alison says:

    Oh, I can so relate to that situation! Two years ago for my son’s 4th birthday party, there was a freak snowstorm (I live in the Pacific NW where we usually have very mild weather), and only 2 of 6 kids made it to the party.

    Last year, there was another freak snowstorm, and I had to cancel the party myself! Luckily, we had some relative kids sleep over the night before, so not too much of a heart-breaker.

    This year (party’s on Saturday) we invited 10 kids, so far two have rsvp’d yes, and 3 have said they can’t come. This could turn out to be a real disappointment for my son, as he’s turning 6, and will definitely remember this party, unlike the other two.

    Next year I’ll take Kim’s advice and double the invite list!

  35. I have a child who has a similar age as your own (4 years) and sometimes I forget he’s only 4. I realize that all kids have different levels of development as my child still seems to be less oriented towards the “social” aspect of parties as he is to the visuals of a party (balloons, gifts, colors). But yes, rescheduling parties (when there were issues) has worked well for us.

    Also although the idea of buying/giving stuff to console is also one way to “distract” a child from an unpleasant feeling he may be experiencing, kudos to you for not going that route.

  36. Ranga says:

    Yes, a surprise get together as moneysavingmama says will be a good idea,

  37. finola says:

    Oh, that is so sad – I’m casting my vote for a reschedule too – he sounds like a little trouper but I suspect a reschedule would be a thrill for him and his pals. Belated Birthday greetings to him from Barbados too

  38. TSP says:

    As a father of two young boys, I know exactly the feeling that you had when you had to watch your son cry at the disappointment. I’ve been in that situation before, and you feel so bad that it’s hard not to just do whatever they want to try to make it up to them.

    For the purposes of this blog, congrats to you for not spending your way out of it. Spending the day with the child is a great way to frugally make good. Well, make it as good as you can, anyway.

  39. logical1 says:

    We almost had a similar experience with our 5 year old this summer… a pool party. Some of the kids couldn’t make it because of summer vacations and stuff. The day of the party, the clouds rolled in and it poured hard all morning, we thought for sure nobody would show. We scrambled to get access to the clubhouse and planned some quick games. A few showed and by the time the games were done the rain was gone and the day was saved.

    We don’t do the big several hundred dollar parties because things happen. We typically have the party at a home or in this case the neighborhood pool. The kids actually have more fun that way. The bounce houses and places like that are fun but the time is limited, kids don’t play together and the parents don’t get to “relax and enjoy” the party.

  40. liv says:

    awwww :(

  41. Lori says:

    The birthday story broke my heart. Please tell me that wasn’t real. What about having his friends over another weekend for a party?

  42. Sarah says:

    Awww, poor little guy.

  43. Mule Skinner says:

    Is stomach flu contagious?

  44. DivaJean says:

    This just about happened to my daughter when she was 4- except ONE friend came to the party when we had received 3 RSVPs from parents of her friends.

    She’s 9 now and seems to have no residual deep seated issues over it.

  45. Meika says:

    Oh, how absolutely heartbreaking.

  46. gk says:

    How sad for him. Am I the only one wondering where his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins were?

  47. Nathan says:

    poor guy…that’s not an easy thing to deal with at any age!

  48. Sally says:

    It may have already been suggested, but are you going reschedule? It still seems like to could have an extra-special play date.

  49. AJ says:

    Is this a trend? I’ve noticed that only a handful of children attend parties where all of a class is invited.

    What to do?

  50. Maha says:

    This post made me cry – hopefully my coworkers are ignoring me. My heart still aches for your son. A definite reschedule would be great, with the cake, balloons, the works (as you’d originally planned). Do wish him a happy third birthday from your readers.

  51. My.cold.dead.hands says:

    Wow that was really sad.

    I always wonder if I had kids, what life lesson I would be able to teach them in this.

    It’s better to help them learn from this and find ways to not let these things shape them into being shy, cynical or a people pleaser eventhough the first temptation is simply to try and mute the pain.

  52. Ram says:

    hmm.. thats sad. glad he had fun for the rest of the day with parents.
    just for fun, i asked my 3yr old about her birthday and celeberating at home this time. She is excited about cutting the cake, and at the same time she gave a whole list of names that she wants to invite. Then I said, I might be traveling and probably not be here for birthday. Her face frowned and got quiet. Now I said, i can be here but her mom might be travelling so she can’t be. Now she was terribly sad and said, “I need you both, else I will NOT have my birthday” and bursted in tears.

  53. SueO says:

    Okay, I don’t usually cry at blogs, but I’m tearing up here.

    Happy belated birthday to your son. Give him a hug for me.

  54. bethh says:

    Poor little dude, that’s terrible. It sounds like you handled it as gracefully as possible. It’s too late now, but it might’ve been nice to package up slices of cake and deliver them to the poor sick kids (let’s face it.. flu vs party? they were suffering too!).

    Anyway, hopefully he won’t remember this!

    Re: the library fines/collection agency – I posted a comment on the original, but basically libraries can potentially lose multiple thousands of dollars of materials per year – they owe it to the taxpayers and the other people who want to use those materials to take reasonable steps to retrieve them. Often the information isn’t reported to the credit report agencies for 6 months after it’s handed to the collection agency. To my knowledge, there is one main collection agency that works only with libraries, and they’re pretty considerate.

  55. Robert says:

    We have three kids; 7, 5, and 3. All of their birthdays are in December (actually mine and my wife’s are as well- makes for a hectic month).
    We have to date combined their parties but this will be the last year we do so due to my daughter (she’s the oldest) moving out of the social range of the younger kids, so to speak.

    We’ve found the rule of thumb for birthday parties to be roughly the same as that for budgeting remodels: Figure out what you need and double it.

    Specifically, we invite about twice as many kids as we really want and then plan for 75% of them to show up, also accounting for the odd adults that hang around. So far this has worked out pretty well; we’ve always been slightly over-prepared in terms of food, goodie bags and space.

    It occurs to me that while a kid’s birthday party may be a good time to practice restraint, it’s not necessarily the proper arena for ‘frugality’. Fortunately your son is young enough that he won’t remember this well.

  56. Mel says:

    That is too sad for him, the poor thing. Can’t he have his birthday party on another day?

  57. Sam says:

    I think it’s wonderful that you chose family time over buying him another gift. Today’s materialistic culture might find that strange, but really, all the stuff we buy kids will not be of lasting value to them. Building a strong family bond, though, is priceless.

    It’s important that he learns early what really matters in life, and it isn’t things. If he learns now to love his family and be content with simple things in life, he will be far better off.

    I really enjoy your site! Keep up the good work.

  58. Lenore says:

    Poor little tyke! He may be too young to remember the disappointment, but definitely keep the decorations, dream up some small surprises, bake another cake and spring a make-up party on him in a week or two. I’d wait till the kids with flu are non-contagious but well before Thanksgiving.

    Invite a couple of other kids or fun-loving relatives as surprise guests. Let them know gifts aren’t expected, but give your son at least one present to open in front of everyone. It can be something very cheap like a teddy bear, but the bigger the package, the more excited he’ll be about ripping into it at his age.

    Get some fun party favors from the dollar store and play simple group games like animal charades, keeping a balloon in the air, hot potato or a bean bag toss (finally a use for those old Beanie Babies). When I think about the birthday parties I went to as a kid, it’s inexpensive things I remember: games we played, silly party favors, delicious refreshments and festive comraderie. Good luck with the re-party, and remember it’s about making your son feel special, not spoiled. He’s lucky to have a father who obviously loves him VERY much!

  59. mes says:

    So sad! Definitely an opportunity for a nice playdate in the future, maybe you can recreate the cake for the event. Your story made me think of a mom that I met recently – she also has a son who will be turning 3 soon. Seems like they’ve spent a lot of time at home together, so the little guy has no friends to invite to his birthday party.

  60. Laura says:

    Poor little guy! I will add my voice to the many suggesting a reschedule. True, he might not remember it ten or twenty years from now, but it will brighten up the rest of his month at the very least. And I’m sure the other kids (and their moms) would be thrilled at the prospect of a do-over party also.

  61. Lulu says:

    Oooh! Poor fella…I feel his and your pain. I do hope he will get over it soon as young kids do. Wish him a happy belated birthday.

  62. tinybird says:

    That’s too sad. Maybe he can make his friends some get well cards so at least he knows that they missed his party for a reason & not because they don’t like him. Or just suprise him with it another day.

  63. Lynn Berry says:

    You did the right thing by not buying your child’s happiness with an item. He’s 3. He’s got a whole lifetime of disappointment and let-downs ahead of him. The sooner he learns from your example on how to deal with them, the more well-adjusted he’ll turn out as an adult.


  64. Kara McGuire says:

    As a parent,I think one of the hardest things is knowing that we can’t completely shelter our children from disappointment.

    I think the surprise party idea is great.

  65. Courtney says:

    Poor little guy. And I like the idea of the previous commenter to make get well cards. Maybe this could help him see that he wasn’t the only one who had a bad day.

  66. sumokitty says:

    unlike what ‘Rob – comment 18’ said, you DON’T need to have kids to understand your son’s heartbreak. I do understand and actually really *lost it* just now. This effected me pretty deeply…sniff, sniff. PLEASE let us know how the reschedule party goes and/or that you son has completely recovered from his disappointment.

  67. Katie says:

    Aww! This makes my heart ache. It hurts us parents so much when we see our children in pain. Often, it hurts us more than them. I’m sure he enjoyed spending the whole day with his family. But still, he must have been so disappointed.

  68. Shevy says:

    Oh, that’s sad. Definitely reschedule (once you’re sure your son isn’t going to be the next one to get sick, since these things tend to go through the whole group).

    And doing get well cards is a great idea.

  69. cynthia says:

    Poor little guy! My heart goes out to him–and his parents. Please give him my birthday wishes from Indiana!

  70. KJS says:

    Oh man, that would have been crushing for me at that age. I’d vote for rescheduling – belated birthday could be fun.

  71. morgan says:

    tomorrow will be another day.
    Remember how we all love you and your family.
    from Brasil

  72. littlepitcher says:

    No law against having two birthday parties. I suspect, though, that some of these parents perceived themselves as not being in any financial shape to purchase presents.
    A pizza party or sleepover without the gifts might be a better option. Do let the little fellow know not to take it personally. I did a brief stint, years ago, in a pediatricians’ office and kids do, indeed, get sick in herds and clusters.

  73. Bay says:

    This is heartbreaking! I’m sure I would have quick ran him out to Chuck E. Cheese’s, so good for you, for handling it the way you did. You can always show him all these comments and show him all the Happy Birthdays from all over the place. This one’s from NJ ;)

  74. Michelle says:

    Happy Birthday to your little guy from Texas. And big hugs going out to him for having such a bummer of a birthday, poor sweetheart.

  75. Jade says:

    Awww, poor little dude! This calls for a special playdate once everyone is feeling better!

    Having a b-day around this time of the year when people are getting sick is always rough. Mine is in Feburary, and this year I ended up cancelling my dinner party because everyone I invited got sick that morning. And it’s not the first time this has happened to me.

    So you can let your son know that he isn’t the only one who has had a b-day party cancelled because everyone was sick. And every cloud has a silver lining: At least he wasn’t sick! ;-) I’m remembering a nasty cold I had on my 16th b-day, or the stomach flu I had for my 11th b-day. At least he was healthy and had a good time with his parents.

    As for a make-up party, it’s a good idea. I had one myself this year… in June! It was the only time my friends and I all had a Saturday night free. Oh well, better late than never!

    So you can tell your son that lots of people are wishing him a happy birthday, and lots of people have their parties cancelled because everyone got sick, and lots of people have make-up parties when everyone feels better!

  76. Lynn says:

    Awww! Poor kid…

  77. Francine says:

    Happy Belated Birthday to a Special Little Guy!

    I agree with Jade. Can you print out these comments, cut out the Happy Birthday parts, and make a little booklet for your son? Maybe also have him do a special little column within your Simple Dollar. I know I’d love to hear from him.

    I also think the surprise party at a later date is a fantastic idea.

  78. Poor li’l kid! That’s crushing, especially for a kidlet.

    A make-up birthday party is a great idea…but it might be wise to chat with the parents first and find out whether “stomach flu” was really going around, or whether that’s just the most popular excuse. The last thing you need is an instant replay of this fiasco.

    This happened to me twice in a row–as a grown-up! That’s why I don’t throw parties anymore: at my house “entertaining” = inviting one or two couples for dinner. Or going out somewhere with friends…the real ones, that is.

  79. Deidre Ross says:

    Poor kid! Disappointments like this are hard to take.

    We have five boys, and I became disgusted with the whole birthday party thing pretty early. We began a different birthday tradition instead. Since the boys were home with me all day every day, on their birthdays they get to spend the day with Dad doing exactly what they want to do. They are given a spending limit (usually $50, or in one case my youngest fell in love with a $3 clearance toy), and they can use it on a gift they’ve been wanting or they can choose to go out to their favorite restaurant and a movie.

    The result is that they don’t get as many gifts or cards from family and friends, but that hasn’t bothered us or them (less thank you notes to write for them; less clutter for the rest of us). Plus, they still get to feel special without the expense of a party.

  80. Juliska says:

    On my 12th birthday my family was living in a new subdivision where there were exactly five kids my own age, or close to it, whom I considered friends. Three of those kids were in one family, and the oldest girl in that family was my very best friend, a huge deal at that age. I invited all five to my birthday party. One girl showed up. We waited for the others. After an hour, they still had not come. I called them at home – no answer at the house with the three kids. I called the other kid’s house – “Oh, he went to the store with the So-and-so’s, they’ll be back in a couple of hours.” (The So-and-so’s were my best friend’s family, and the extra boy was the best friend of their son.)

    My sole guest and I played games and waited another hour. We didn’t touch the cupcakes and Kool-aid my mother had made, because the party hadn’t started yet. Finally she said she had to go home soon. I couldn’t understand why my best friend wouldn’t show up. My guest and I rode our bikes the few blocks to the So-and-so’s house and saw their car pull into the driveway. They all got out and the parents started unloading groceries, marching right past me and pointedly ignoring my “Hello.” My best friend turned red when she saw me, and muttered that the shopping took longer than usual.

    I was about to burst into tears. I asked if they could come over to my house for the party. The mother sharply said that it was impossible, it was too close to dinner time. Then I did start crying. I was not a popular kid at school, these few friends were all I had, and now my birthday, the one day of the year that was supposed to be special just for me, had been turned into a bad joke. The father snapped, “Oh, all right, you can go, but be back in half an hour!”

    We sped back to my house, downed the cupcakes and Kool-aid and I unwrapped a couple of gifts I can’t even remember. Then everyone left, half an hour on the dot. I knew the parents of my best friend disliked me – her mother was an immigrant and there were cultural differences – but I will always remember that day as an example of inexcusable, vicious, adult nastiness. Who does that to a child?

    Please reschedule a party for your son. As little as he is, I think he needs to know that none of this happened on purpose, that his little friends were just ill, and that they do care about him. At that age friendship is just being in the same room and playing, but it matters.

  81. JMom says:

    I get your feed via email but I just had to come by and leave a comment today and give your son a virtual hug.

    As a mom, I can relate how something like your child’s disappointment can just break your heart for them. I agree with everyone here, a make up party after everyone gets well will make this birthday something he’ll remember rather something that he’d rather forget.

    Happy Birthday to your son!!

    Tell him he’s got tons of greetings online. :)

  82. Jess says:

    When my mother organized my fifth birthday party she booked a local roller rink at a resonable price. A few days before my birthday I had to have my appendix taken out and the party was rescheduled at a time when I’d be up and around to go skating. The day before the second party I came down with chicken pox and my mother again asked to reschedule the roller rink reservation. She got a very unapologetic “NO” by the owner. My mother went ahead and let my classmates and friends come to the party while I stayed home from my own birthday. On the weekend everyone who had already had chicken pox came by my house and we opened presents and had cookies and punch. No cake as it had already been eaten at the roller rink.
    I feel sorry for your little guy but worse things could happen.

  83. Jessica says:

    *hugs* Poor fellow. My 16th birthday was exactly the same. An elaborate high tea party for four friends. All cancelled just as your son’s friends had (but for other reasons). All the best for future birthdays! cheers

  84. Emily says:

    I had the same party for my 5th birthday! There were I think 4 other kids invited. Two days before the party two of them got sick. The other two got sick at the party and had to be taken home. I’m 23 now and I look back and laugh!

  85. fathersez says:

    This feeling of intense concern and worry when our child is hurt emotionally will be with us for the next God knows how many years.

    I still feel the same about my 20 something kids….And my late mother used to freak out over us, and us included 2 grandfathers!

    I suppose we’ll never ever “get used to it”.


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