Sunday, March 3, 2013
I made a major snafu this weekend. Not merely an awkward or embarrassing thing, but one that might hurt a child's feelings. Mentally, I keep trying to place blame on his parents, but that's not fair. It's not even accurate. Even if it were, it would not be the kid's fault, and it's his feelings that matter.
I forgot to invite only one boy in my son's class to his birthday party today.
I know, it's horrible.
Here's how it happened. I used Evite to send the invitation, and the school directory for email addresses of parents I didn't already know. The boy (whom we will call Jim) was listed in the directory, as were both his parents. No email address was listed. I printed out the Evite invitation, wrote my contact information for the RSVP, and my son handed it to Jim at school. His mother called to say he would be able to make it.
Then we had a blizzard the day before the party and everything shut down, including the party venue. Without phone or electricity, I sat in my car and called everyone from my cell phone to tell them the party was cancelled and would be rescheduled. Several days later, it was. I resent the Evite to the original invitation list.
I failed to remember that Jim was not on that list.
The day before the rescheduled party, I realized what I had done. I immediately called Jim's mother, hoping an apology and last-minute invitation might solve things. In addition to no email address, Jim's family also had no home phone number listed. I called the listed cell phone. No answer, only a recording that the subscriber had not set up her voice mail box. No message, no invitation.
That's the story. That's how I excluded only one boy in a very small third grade class. A boy whom, from the little I have witnessed, could have used that invitation.
I pulled out the directory tonight and wrote an old-fashioned handwritten apology note. I will mail it to Jim's mother tomorrow. I explain what happened and I apologize to her and to Jim. I don't know what more I can do. My son's class only has thirteen children in it, and all the boys but Jim (and one with a last-minute conflict) attended. I fear it's likely to come up at school tomorrow. I fear Jim will hear and know he wasn't invited.
My son feels awful and has a whole explanation prepared in case this happens, but if I were Jim it wouldn't make much difference to me. Yes, it would be worse to be purposely excluded than accidentally excluded, but he was excluded either way. I screwed up, and I feel lousy about it.
Assuming you were in my shoes and the party had already happened, what would you have done?