The other day I received a text, inviting Eddy to a classmate’s birthday party. Unfortunately he can’t go, so I texted back before I forgot to reply. I didn’t receive a response to my text which I was quite surprised about due to the friendly nature of the original message; however, I have encountered problems with my phone recently when sending messages of more than a couple of lines. And my reply was way more than a couple of lines… I’d practically told my whole life story in one message – apologising profusely that Eddy couldn’t go, stating the reasons behind him not being able to make it and emphasising how he’d have LOVED to have joined in the birthday celebrations if he’d been available etc etc. Does anyone else feel the need to over-elaborate when turning down an invitation?
I‘m actually quite relieved that Eddy can’t go because I have previous form with kids’ birthday parties. I once rocked up half an hour early to one, convinced that this was the time stated on the invitation. The mother of the birthday girl tried to convince me otherwise and we had a bit of a ‘party commencement’ stand-off. I didn’t see why I should back down when she’d clearly written the start time down incorrectly on the invite. Eventually, she graciously allowed Eddy to stay while they finished hanging up the bunting and arranging plates of sandwiches and I was quite mortified when I got home and double-checked the start time. Needless to say I sent Pud to pick Eddy up…and the birthday girl’s dad still doesn’t talk to me almost five years on.
And just the other week Eddy was invited to a swimming party. As Eddy isn’t a strong swimmer I asked Molly if she’d like to go swimming with me at the same pool so that we could keep an eye on him. Imagine my embarrassment when we got to the pool and realised that the party hosts had hired the ENTIRE pool for two hours and that there was no public swimming during this time. Admittedly they had asked for adult helpers on the invitation but I hadn’t offered my services, so Molly and I just looked like a couple of hangers-on who were there to grab a free swim. I couldn’t even pretend that we were just dropping Eddy off, as we’d put our swimsuits on under our clothes and there’s always a giveaway swimsuit strap sticking out from your t.shirt isn’t there? Plus I was wielding my large, stripy beach bag, so all signs of an intention to swim were there. The birthday boy’s dad welcomed us with open arms but I spent the whole hour in the pool fretting about whether we’d look ungrateful if Molly and I swanned off to McDonalds after the swim (as was our original plan) or if we should hang around for the party food because we were now sort of part of the party. We went with the McDonalds option and picked Eddy up afterwards – only for Molly to be a handed a party bag, complete with cake and sweets and a thank you for coming to the party. Cringe.
So, with all this on my mind, just to be completely sure that the current party host had received my epic text, I asked my friend to pass on my extreme regret if she saw party-dad at school. She advised me that he’d probably received my text and that he was most likely devastated that Eddy couldn’t go, hence him not replying. Thanks friend.
I thought that was the end of it, but then Eddy came home from school brandishing a paper version of the party invite. So I sent another text, starting with ‘Hi party-dad (not his real name), I don’t know if you got my first message but….(insert life story again here)’. To which party-dad didn’t reply.
So now I’m left thinking that either party-dad has got the hump because Eddy can’t go (arrogant of me to think like this and unlikely of party-dad to act like this but you never know with some folk) or he hasn’t received any of my messages and thinks I’m completely ignorant in the ways of birthday party etiquette (if only he knew). But maybe, just maybe there is a third option and that is perhaps I’m completely overthinking all of this and that party-dad is so busy with the hustle and bustle of everyday life and arranging his child’s party that acknowledging my message has completely slipped his mind.
Whatever the reason, given my track record with taking my kids to parties, party-dad and his son have probably had a very lucky escape……
Update: You will not believe this but it’s 100% true....within minutes of writing this post, I’ve received a reply from party-dad thanking me for letting him know. I’m definitely going with option three!