My son Petey unfortunately was on the receiving end of a friend asking why he wasn’t coming to a party. I heard him respond, “Party? I guess I was not invited.”
I was in other room, so I didn’t see the look on his face. But I know my son, and I knew it was the same defeated look when he could not, for the life of him, hit the baseball in little league.
After he hung up the phone, he came and just stood by me. I didn’t want to start interrogating him. I wanted him to be the one to tell me what happened, even though my instinct was to find the child and the mother of the child and ask what my son had done to not be invited.
On our way home that day, he sat there as the music played and finally spoke.
“I didn’t get invited to Nathan’s Halloween party.” His feelings overcame him, and I could hear him crying in the backseat. I tried my best not to cry, but my eyes began to fill as he finished, “I mean, we are friends. Why didn’t he want me to come?”
I said — after clearing my throat and attempting to compose myself — “Son, sometimes people change. Those who we thought were friends suddenly decide they don’t want to be friends with you anymore, and that’s okay. I know it hurts, and it will sting for a while, but I know you are a good friend, and maybe Nathan just forgot. But whatever the case is, you continue being that good friend. Don’t be mad at him; don’t be mad at your friends who were invited. I am sorry this happened, but you must see this as a learning experience, a way to grow. I am not friends with same people I thought I would be friends with forever. Everyone changes, and that’s okay.”
He stopped crying after a while and said, “Do you think he still wants to be friends with me? Do you think I should stop talking to him?”
“I think you should be friends with him. It’s up to you to ask him what happened if you want, but you don’t have too. I think you should do what you feel is right.”
His response was, “I want to be still be his friend, and it does hurt. But I think I will be okay.”
As we got home, he changed into his pajamas and got into bed. He asked me to hold his hand until he went to sleep. I stood there as he drifted off to sleep, watching his eyes finally close and his breaths even out.
I thought to myself, as a parent, you want to shield your child away from things that will hurt him or cause him pain. Other times, some issues are unavoidable. I believe if we can teach our children to navigate their way through some of life’s harsher lessons, we will send them off into the world knowing one day they can conquer those issues.
What would you have said to your child in this situation? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.
You always had a way with words. I would have said something like ” be his friend unless he tells you he doesn’t want to be yours and move on. A true friend will be with you no matter what”.
Great post. My sons are grown, but my youngest had two birthday parties where NO ONE showed up. One was in elementary school and the other was his 16th. It is so very hard to coach them through these things when you want to scream at his friends’ moms. I think you handled it perfectly. It was a hard but teachable moment. Good for you!