kids

An open letter to the one girl who turned up to my daughter’s birthday party.

I didn’t think my daughter would have a birthday party this year. I didn’t think anyone would come.

My daughter is 10, and has Aspergers. She doesn’t really have friends. She’s mostly happy doing her own thing at recess and lunch. But every year she’s had a birthday party, and she always looks forward to it.

The number of kids turning up to her party has dropped each year. Kids form closer friendships as primary school goes on. They hang out together, talk about whatever tweens talk about, share secrets. My daughter isn’t part of that. And mostly, she’s fine with it.

Thank you to the girl that came to my daughter's birthday
Image: Unsplash

I tried to prepare her for not having a party this year. I promised her a big present – an Xbox, or a rabbit. I offered her a weekend at a farm instead. But she wanted her party.

I told her I didn’t think anyone was going to come. She said she was going to invite her “friends” anyway.

She asked a couple. They told her they couldn’t make it – that they were busy Saturdays and Sundays. Maybe they were. I don’t know.

I suggested other things we could do, adult friends who could come to her party. She didn’t want that.

Then one day after school she spotted a “friend” she hadn’t asked yet. She rushed up to her and asked, “Will you come to my party?”

“Of course I will,” the girl replied. “I’d love to.”

And we were having a party. I asked the girl to bring her younger sister, and with my other daughter, that made four kids all up. Four is a party, right?

We had everything my daughter wanted. We bought her favourite party food. We organised all the party games she wanted to play.

The one guest, along with her little sister, turned up on time. The four kids ran around the house, playing hide and seek and doing treasure hunts. They gorged themselves on chips and chocolate and cake. It was pretty close to a perfect party. My daughter was happy.

We speak to the man who threw a birthday party for all the kids who weren't invited to any other. Post continues after audio.

All it took was one girl to say “yes”. Thank you.

I don’t know if that girl knows what a great kindness she did. I have known of other little children who haven’t received even that one “yes” to their birthday party. I know it makes their parents want to cry from helplessness.

To those parents whose children have lots of friends, I would ask you one thing. Please encourage your children to say “yes” to party invitations. If they’re invited to a party by someone who isn’t a close friend or who isn’t a popular kid, consider going anyway.

It’s a party. There’ll be food and games. It’ll be fun. Your child, who has lots of friends, probably doesn’t understand how much it means to the kid who has sent out the invitation. This party could be their chance to form a bond with other children outside of school.

It could be the high point of their year.

Maybe your child will be the one “yes” who makes the difference between a kid having a birthday party or not having a party at all.

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