HE SAID WHAT?!
Posted By Eric
With our daughter’s fifth birthday right around the corner, Gaby and I began debating the guest list for her party. I have the opinion that a child’s party should be primarily populated with other children, however, I do not favor the idea of close family and friends being outcasted. In this scenario, only friends and family with other children would be invited. So if you have no kids, you are out!
We have a few things working against us. First, we have a large extended family. Since Gaby and I are both Mexican, our families are huge and involved. And when you invite them, they come. Second, our daughter’s birthday is always during the coldest and rainiest part of winter. This makes finding an indoor space expensive and difficult to obtain. If she was born in the summertime, a party at the park would work great. Third, we bought a small home, so hosting parties at our house simply does not work. Trust me, we tried and it did not work. Hosting at a family member’s house does not work either because either my side or Gaby’s side of the family feels uncomfortable, depending on which side of the family is hosting.
With those issues being acknowledged and accepted, I still feel wrong not inviting extended family without children. I thought about my parties growing up, I always had friends and family there. If I would have had a choice at age 10, I would have told my mom to only invite my friends. Now, I would regret that decision because I have uncles, aunts, and cousins that care about me. I am glad my parents did not give me the option of controlling my entire guest list.
So I say invite all the local extended family and friends. Sure you can leave off the drunken uncle you rarely see or the Tia that sells Avon. Remember, not everyone has to come. So you don’t have to expect to feed the 100 people you may have invited. Although finding a place large enough is expensive, I would rather not have the feeling of leaving someone I consider important off the list. Especially people who I know care about my daughter a lot.
SHE SAID WHAT?!
Posted By Gaby
Between Eric and I, we have a total of 65 family members living locally. This doesn’t include the over 50 family members that don’t live close to us, or any friends and babies under the age of 2. Our family is big, so much so that our wedding guest list of over 200 people only had about 50 of our friends. Eric already hashed out our issues: small house, cold, rainy weather, and expensive or uncomfortable hosting scenarios. These issues are real and we’ve done, I think, a decent job to ensure we can host parties for the number of people that will be in attendance. While I’d love to invite everyone, it’s incredibly difficult.
This argument really stems from a recent conversation about how next year, I want to give Chinchilla the ability to invite about three friends to a small party where they might go to Build-a-Bear or to the Children’s Discovery Museum and Christmas in the Park, have lunch and cake, and go home. Eric says that this will be too difficult and it’ll result in hurt feelings and others feeling left out, but I’m saying that this isn’t about us, it’s about Chinchilla. If you know me and my Catholic Guilt, you’ll realize that for me to say that it’s not about anyone but the birthday girl is a big deal. I’m all for ensuring that hurt feelings are spared. Believe me, I spent about a week feeling terrible for forgetting to invite someone to our son’s Baptism. The fact that I haven’t sent out thank you cards is killing me. But the reality is that it’s really fair for everyone that birthday parties begin to be just for the kids in our daughter’s life.
First of all, our daughter will be in kindergarten next year. If she continues with the cohort that she’s currently with, she’ll have friends she’s had for two years. We’ll know the parents, there will be more trust between the families, and they’ll have a stronger bond. I can imagine what fun they’ll have if we take them to Build-a-Bear and then to pizza for her birthday. Second, we’ll always invite cousins in our immediate family, including god-siblings. This means that if we did this next year, three additional kids would be invited. Finally, we would still have a special birthday dinner for her on her actual birthday with her grandparents and, if possible, immediate aunts and uncles. To me this is a win-win, but there are definite issues that Eric brings up.
We have friends and cousins we’re closer to than others without kids. Do we invite them? If we invite them, will others get offended? Probably. I’m proposing that we just invite the kids. It is hurtful for those who want to spend the time with our Chinchilla, but how much fun will it be to chase a kid around Build-a-Bear when they aren’t your kid? I can attest that if I didn’t have a kid, I’d be out. Hell, I would gladly give up my Build-a-Bear spot for someone with a kid! I know not everyone feels that way, and I know we have readers who we love and enjoy spending time with us, so don’t take this personally. If you don’t get an invitation next year, know it’s not because you’re not special, it’s just Chinchilla’s guest list only includes kids.
The politics of this issue are too many and given the fact that I am the person who takes on about 90% of the party planning responsibilities, including sending out the invitations, I have to say, I’m tired. Chinchilla should have a scaled-back party and we (and our family) should be okay with this. That, or Eric should consider renting a hall with a maximum capacity of 100 every December 5th.