I was walking up to my daughter's school today for pick up, running a precise 4 minutes late as I tend to do, and crossed paths with a mom walking out with her son who was likely in 3rd or 4th grade (on her way out because she is apparently the precisely on-time for pick up mom I strive to be).
"So I am going to say no to that birthday party you were invited to," she said to him, nonchalantly. "You don't even know that boy."
"Oh, Evan's party?" he questioned, kicking the pebbles that crossed his path. "I know him..."
"You don't, really," she continued, making his mind up for him. "Let's say no."
I wanted to stop her in her tracks. I wanted to look her in the eye. I wanted to plead with her...
Say yes to birthdays!
We say yes to birthdays. Of course there are occasions when we're out of town or sick or have another commitment, but if we can get there, we say yes.
We say yes to invitations from kids we barely know, kids we adore and consider family, kids we don't see again after that school year has passed.
We say yes to birthdays.
We say yes because there are a lot of kids (or shall I say moms) out there who say no. And more importantly, there are a lot of lonely kids out there who are waiting, hoping, wishing for a yes.
We say yes because there are a lot of moms and dads out there who work really hard on these celebrations and invite the whole class - whether they know them or not. And that's a sign of kindness, confidence and compassion that I want my kids to appreciate and embody every time we see it.
We say yes because for some kids sending out the invite (especially to kids they "don't even know") is a very important step. We say yes to them taking the leap, being a friend, including everyone.
And of course, we say yes to cake and balloons and pizza, too. Any time we get the invite.
I don't know Evan. And I don't know that mom I walked by today. Maybe her days are too busy? But maybe her son's aren't and he can go on his own. Or maybe her budget is too tight these days? So maybe she can just hand down some beloved books from her own son's collection. Maybe Evan has been unkind to her son in the past? It didn't sound like it, but if so, maybe this is the exact "yes" they both need to move past it? Maybe she doesn't like his mom (because let's be honest here...that is the reasoning behind more schoolyard situations than we probably care to admit)? And maybe that's all the more reason to give the kids the opportunity to be kids, no mom strings attached.
I don't know. I don't know their scenario and that's ok because it's theirs and theirs alone. But we say yes to birthdays. And when we send out invites, we hope people say yes to ours. Because it always means a lot to our kids. It makes them happy to see their friends (close ones and not-so-close ones alike) come out to celebrate with them, to watch them blow out their candles, to eat too much pizza and go home with a sugar high. It makes us sincerely happy when they say yes to ours.
And we especially appreciate it when they are precisely four minutes late.