Christmas card casualty

“Mum can I tell you something?”

I looked down at the sad little face of my four-year-old and tensed slightly, hoping it would be that she was thirsty or hungry (states often inexplicably accompanied by a sombre tone)

“Today the twins in my class – you know Sarah and Robert*? They brought in Christmas cards and gave them out to everyone in the class, except me – they didn’t have a card for me”

I did what every parent does in that situation – I hugged her tightly, smiled, kissed her, and suggested that maybe because she was out sick from pre-school for a few days, the twins didn’t realise she’d be in again before Christmas.

“But no mum, I was in yesterday. They saw me then”

True. I tried again “Maybe they brought the card and it got lost?” She wasn’t convinced, the anxious frown remained.

christmas cardsThe lost card theory was probably correct, or perhaps there had been a mix-up – in fact I had met the mum-of-twins for the first time earlier the same day at the pre-school Christmas concert. She asked me which child was mine, and then said “Oh yes, I recognise the name from writing cards with the twins – you’ll see their card in her bag later!”

I know there’s another child in the class with a very similar name, so that might be what happened. Plus my daughter is only in pre-school three mornings a week, so wouldn’t be the name most frequently mentioned by her class-mates I’d guess – an easy one to miss if the parents are asking the kids to list out who is in the class.

Anyway, not a big deal. Not at all. But it still broke my heart a little, as these types of things tend to do. And when the following day, her big sister arrived home with cards from classmates in school, again, there was a sad face, and a little voice said “I didn’t get any cards for me”

My heart broke a little bit more, as I pictured my little girl standing in her classroom, watching with anticipation as cards were handed out, then slowly realising that there wasn’t one for her.

She is shy, so wouldn’t have mentioned it to the children or to her teacher. I know she would have stood there, wondering what to do, not knowing how to react; feeling left out, feeling confused, feeling unsure, feeling sad.

And I know that people will say “these things happen” and “it could be worse” (the Irish are a nation of optimists and regularly say “it could be worse” in all sorts of situations, but of course in this case it’s true – it could certainly be worse)

And people will say “it’s a life lesson; it’ll help toughen her up, it will help her to deal with situations like this in the future”

But will it? I’m not sure. I don’t know if because of this, she will be better able to handle not being invited to a party when she’s eight or not being asked out on a date when she’s twenty-eight. I think our ability to deal with life’s little knocks is probably more to do with self-confidence, self-esteem.

I think it’s OK not to look for silver linings here – not to say it’ll help her in the future. She was sad, now she’s fine (I think). It happened, it’s over. I’m still a bit sad. But that’s being a parent – we take longer to bounce back.

christmas cards2


*names changed to protect the pre-schoolers!



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17 thoughts on “Christmas card casualty”

  1. Could you say it to the twins’ mother and ask if she’d mind if you wrote a card to your daughter from them and put it in your own postbox? It could be worse but your daughter doesn’t know that, my heart goes out to her but I also think it’s great that she told you.

    1. Actually, I hadn’t thought about the fact that it’s good that she told me rather than bottling it up – I think you’ve just given me the “silver lining” after all Joanna!
      I don’t have contact details for the mum and probably won’t see her for months – unfortunately I never get to do drop off or collection as I’m at work, so don’t really know any of the mums – and I’m sure that doesn’t help my 4 year old to make loads of friends #guilt

  2. I learned after the first year and planted some in their bag and said “oh look what I found you silly”. One of my children never had an issue around this sort of thing but the other three did. Sadly and not to upset you, things like this continue even as teenagers and it is even harder then to watch.
    My only consolation is I survived eventually, and with care so will my children. Reading your posts I have no doubt you will too.
    tric recently posted…Searching for Christmas.My Profile

    1. Tric as always you are wise and wonderful.
      I am indeed petrified of teenage years though at the same time, I assume we’ll all get through it one way or another – I might be still coming to you for advice!
      (and planting cards sounds like a very good idea)

    1. Hmm if you can remember if from that age, perhaps I shouldn’t assume that she has forgotten already. I need to hatch a plan…

  3. I’ve a shy one here too. Sometimes “these things happen” is not an appropriate response. “these things” are big things in their little worlds. Bloody cards and birthday invitations.

    1. I know. It’s a big thing for the child (and the mum really). Our school doesn’t allow birthday invitations in the class so I didn’t realise that there would be cards…

  4. Oh, my heart breaks for her! One of my girls missed a few days in preschool last week and when she went back in her usual bestie had hooked up with someone new and told her she wasn’t her best friend anymore and that she wouldn’t be ‘for 100 years’ (3-year old dramatics!). At that moment I was sooo glad that she’s a twin and already has a permanent bestie. She was really sad though, and I very nearly cried. Things like this are a horrible inevitability I had hoped to avoid for a lot longer 🙁
    Sadhbh@WhereWishesComeFrom recently posted…The Shortest Day of The YearMy Profile

    1. Oh poor little thing 🙁 The good thing is (apart from having a permanent bestie) is that your little girl will have forgotten all about it no time – kids are brilliant

  5. Aww,the poor little pet:(
    My heart would be broken for her too,especially as there probably was a card for herb ut it went to the wrong person and the teachers did not notice while giving them out.
    My little girl in preschool was delighted that she got a card but of course forgot who it was from but it was the novelty:)
    In my 4 year olds class in school they are only allowed to give out birthday invites to all the class or all the girls/all the boys so no one gets left out.

    1. That’s so cute that your pre-schooler didn’t know who the card is from (mine would be the same) and it really does show that it’s just all about the novelty!
      That’s a good rule in the school for invitations. I think in JI and SI they’re too young to deal with being left out of a party, and they are mostly still “friends” with everyone. I’m guessing that by first class they might be in their own little groups – though my six year old’s best friend just moved school so devastation is coming soon there – that’ll be a whole other story!

  6. Ah that is so sad. I know how that feels as a parent. My 9 year old has stayed back a class this year and it seems she has not been asked to a lot of parties. I know it breaks her little heart, other parents probably don’ t realise she is in the class. It is really good though that your little one spoke to you about it, I heard about my daughters upset from someone else. I’d probably go with the planted card too, can’t do any harm!

    1. Ah Naomi that’s very hard for your little girl. Is her own birthday coming up? Or any reason to have a get-together with some classmates so that the parents know to invite her back? I don’t know if playdates still happen at 9 but maybe that would work? Oh this parenting thing breaks your heart sometimes.
      PS I did plant a card – her little face lit up and she said “Oh! It must be from the twins!” Then “it’s weird – all the other cards were small”

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