Last week, something kind of awful happened. Stella came home bearing 2 birthday party invitations – both to Chuck E. Cheese, both the same weekend. One Saturday, one Sunday. Yikes. That’s a lot of Chuck. That’s a lot of tempting pizza I cannot partake in, as I’m only on day 18 of another round of the Whole 30. That’s not one but two gifts to buy, right as we are attempting to make right the installation of our new AC system that went in last week.
The Saturday invitation was for Stella’s BFF, the little girl she’s grown up with. That’s a no-brainer. We will attend that one cheerfully. But the Sunday dose of Chuck? That was for a random girl in her class that I don’t know well. And to be a bit snarky, her mother didn’t RSVP for Stella’s party, nor did they show up. I’ve reached a point where that’s a big throbbing nerve within the etiquette center of my brain.
Last year, we would have gone. We had such a shitty year in school – her behavior was often so gnarly – that I jumped at any chance for her to get together with her peers away from the Harpy. We went to every birthday party we were invited to – quite a few, since we’re still in the “you must invite every child to the party” phase of school. But this year? Not so much.
Y’all, it sounds stupid, but this was a huge epiphany. We don’t have to go to every stinking birthday party. I can relax. Stella is ok. She’s more than ok. Granted, she still is rather immature compared to many of her peers. She still acts a bit nutty at times. Maybe it’s the ADHD. I don’t know. Regardless, while she may not have lots of friends, she has some. And sometimes she just digs being on her own, and I can totally respect and understand that.
I ask her every single day who she played with at recess. Sometimes I get names. One day Sarah was her best friend and they played tag. Other days she’s played ball with a group of boys. But much of the time, she says she just hangs out by herself. When the worried neurotic mom asks if that’s because no one would play with her and ohglobtheyhateherbecausesheactsweirdsometimes, she always replies that she just felt like doing her own thing.
And it’s ok.
It’s like a weight has come off of us, at least for now. For starters, maybe there won’t be as many Chuck E Cheese parties in my future as I expected. On a serious note, I have no doubt as she gets older and becomes more aware – as the era of “you must invite every child” comes to an end and she starts hearing of parties and events that she was not included in, there will be tears. Hell, I’ll probably cry more than she will. But she’ll be ok.