When my son was in preschool, birthday parties were easy. He had a few close friends and those were the people we invited. The first year that we started homeschooling wasn’t too bad either because we still had a bit of a connection to those kids.
Since, then, things have been much harder.
One of the most difficult parts of homeschooling has been finding our tribe. My son is social and would love to be around other kids every day. The activities we participated in attracted a wide range of ages, so it was hard to find a close friend. I’ve also found that some of the homeschoolers in our area can be kind of flakey, canceling plans that that. This leaves my kids disappointed, so I’ve started not telling them what we’re doing unless I’m 100 percent sure that it’s happening.
Starting gymnastics has made a world of difference for my son. He’s got a small group of kids that he sees on a very regular basis. There’s still a bit of an age range, but they all love gymnastics, so it isn’t as big of a deal.
As his birthday approached, I worried about what we were going to do. Our house is pretty small, but parties at other locations are so expensive. I talked my son into trying for a sleepover, and he went for the idea, but it was still hard to decide who to invite.
See, some of his closest friends all come from different parts of his life. One is a homeschooling friend. One is a cousin. One is a friend from preschool days that we continue to see. And I wasn’t sure if the boys from gymnastics were close enough to be sleepover birthday friends. And when my son was picking just a few boys off of the team, he was choosing some of the older ones, who I wasn’t sure would be down for the sleepover.
After some thinking, we decided that it was best to just invite the guys from his team level. To invite all of them. Eek.
As he handed out the invitations, I worried about whether they’d be excited for it for not. I was so relieved when one of the moms immediately added it her calendar and asked what type of presents he wanted. I was even more relieved when the boy that my son would most want to come to the party, a boy who’s a few years older, ran up to my son the next day saying that he could come to the party, all excited. And with that boy deciding to sleep over, all the other boys are going to give it a go. So my son is getting the exact birthday he wanted.
I’m still nervous about the party. I’ve spent the week cleaning like a madwoman. None of these kids have been over to our house yet, and I’m not sure where they set the clean bar. It’s so much easier when you’ve been to someone else’s house and have seen that it’s cluttered or messy. You know what I mean.
And I’ve been running around getting all of the things ready. Getting a movie from the library. Getting different parts together for the craft (which is going to be awesome!!).
At the same time, I’m pretty excited. I’ve always wanted to be the home where kids congregate, so hosting a slumber party is like a dream. I’m excited that my son is old enough for this. I’m excited that he has friends who are as excited about coming as he is about having them. I hope it turns out as awesome as we hope.
(Update since I’m late in posting this and the party has already happened. Everything went great.)