R-E-S-P-E-C-T the R-S-V-P

The week has been long and hectic, and you know it’s going to be a struggle to add one more thing to your plate. It sure seemed like a good idea at the time, RSVP’ing to another birthday party. But then you realized you had to wade through the trenches of hell (aka Toys”R”Us – RIP), spend money on a present that you prayed no one else was also buying, devote two or three hours of your time surrounded by wild banshees, and if that wasn’t enough, take a couple of said banshees home just as they are hitting their peak sugar high. So the day of the party arrives, and you realize it might just be easier to say “Sorry, something came up.”

Or, you may have been tempted to just let that invitation hang on the fridge until you realize two months later, the party has come and gone.

I’ll be the first person to admit that I’ve been guilty of forgetting to RSVP, or even forgetting to send my regrets. I’m a busy working mom with two kids, extracurricular activities galore, and let’s face it, I’m a total Type B who can’t keep up with a planner to save her life. I can even say on at least one occasion, I’ve made an excuse to get out of a birthday party, and probably several excuses for other events.

But then I became a mom with kids who had birthday parties, and I experienced the other end of the spectrum. 

When my daughter’s 4th birthday party neared, I was so excited she was finally at a good age to invite all of her school friends. I spent hours agonizing over finding a place that could accommodate more than 10 kids without dropping $500 and settled on a place less than a quarter of a mile away from her daycare. I even planned it for 6pm on a Friday so parents could just drop in right after daycare, feed their kids with pizza and cake, and let them to crash just in time for bed.

In addition to normal invitations, I posted an RSVP sheet on the daycare door in hopes it wouldn’t go ignored. I picked a birthday theme that was welcoming to both boys and girls, not to mention scouring and pinning grand superhero displays that I knew I’d never be able to recreate. Then the day of the party arrived and only about five school friends came from a class of 20+. And not only did I go home with a couple of banshees hitting their peak sugar high, but at least half of a giant sheet cake and 15 cupcakes which I spent the next week binge eating. All in all, it was a decent turnout with some other family friends included, and the most important part is that my daughter had a great time.

But that’s not true for all kids.

A friend of mine planned her son’s birthday party and NO ONE came. I don’t know if it’s more heartbreaking for the little boy or the mom who had to endure the look of utter devastation on her son’s face. And as coincidence would have it, while perusing the internet in the midst of writing this article, not even looking for examples, this happened to cross my computer screen. 

Why is this so common?

When did our generation become so flippant about RSVP’ing or making an attempt to live up to our word? I implore you — make more of an effort and think about “What if this was my kid?” or “What if this was my event I so painstakingly planned?”       

Sure, we can’t attend every party, every event, and it’s OK to say no, but that’s just it; say no and send your regrets, and no, not five minutes before the party starts.

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