The rage I felt was instant. My daughter Emily, 7, had just bowled through the front door, full of the happy exhaustion that a little girl should have after her first grown-up sleepover (read: no sleep, tons of sugar).
Dawn, her friend’s mum dropped her off and came in to see me. She was confused. Why were all the other kids piled into her car invited to Amy’s birthday party, and not my kid? Surely, she says, Emily has it wrong and just misplaced the invitation?
But she wasn’t invited. This is the first I’d heard of Amy’s birthday party. Amy, who, as far as I was aware was one of my daughter’s best friends. The same Amy who’d been to every one of my daughter’s birthday parties, as well as many other assorted little gatherings, like trips to the cinema and the bowling alley. She’d invited every other kid in their little gang, except mine.
So I was quietly fuming with Amy’s mum for singling my child out in this way, but also angry with myself for being so angry. “Get over it,” I scolded myself. But then Dawn followed up with a concerned phonecall. The very fact she did made me think maybe I wasn’t so mental after all. And for once, my husband agreed with me – this was rude.
The kids in the car said that Amy’s mum had told her to choose between my daughter and another little girl for the last coveted spot at the party. Who DOES that? I wracked my brain. In ‘these difficult times’, maybe it was a purely economic decision. But these are well earning middle class parents. When they’ve already hired the local hall and the kids’ entertainer, pointedly cutting out one little girl saves the cost of a few sausage rolls and a party bag.
So is my kid ‘that kid’, the annoying, badly behaved one who no other parent wants to deal with? But there’s no way we’d have got several years into schooling without me having an inkling of this. Maybe the girls had simply fallen out or drifted apart. But they’d been running around the playground happily together just a couple of days earlier.