I could see the moisture in her eyes.
She wasn't crying, but I could see that I had touched a soft spot.
I was uncomfortable, and perhaps a bit (or maybe a lot) defensive.
But I couldn't take it back, I could only move forward.
What was this all about, you ask?
My daughter hadn't invited her daughter to her birthday party (even though the invitation did flow the other way last June).
On Saturday, my daughter turned 9, and on Sunday we celebrated her birthday at a climbing structure with 6 of her friends, her brother, and one of her brother's friends.
We let our daughter decide which 6 friends.
We didn't make suggestions.
We didn't influence.
Unfortunately, it didn't include my friend's daughter.
I didn't realize, at the time, that it would open up the situation that it did.
Since then, I have learned a lot about the cultural differences surrounding birthday parties, expectations, and the nature of reciprocity.
Did you know that in Norway, there are anti-bullying laws that states that you have to invite the entire class to a party, in order to not leave someone out?
Trust me, I am a NOT a proponent of bullying, and am a huge supporter of kindness, but I think a law like this misses the point.
I keep going back to something I heard Brené Brown once say, "We need to prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child."
I am grappling with so many questions this week:
And so many more.
Do you have thoughts on this? What are your cultural expectations around birthday party invitations?
Originally posted on LinkedIn with comments.
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I am Theresa Destrebecq.