I'm done. I've had it. It's just not worth the effort, the pain, the disappointment, the afterwards. It's not worth the tears, the sorrys, the guilt. I've tried again and again, each time with no greater measure of success than the last, and if I try really hard, I just *might* be able to go back through all of my blog posts over the years and perhaps find a post where things actually went well. But I know for that one, there are at least a dozen of the others, detailing my determination not to do it again. But I'm a glutton for punishment. And yes, I feel guilty.
Some of you may laugh, think this is trite. But I'm not laughing, and I know an army of you out there who are not laughing right along with me. I'm trying to figure out how to make this sound like it's not a joke, because trust me, it's not.
I'm done. Done with torturing myself and Samantha with attendance at another child's birthday party. It just never seems to end well. If the party isn't at a playground or park, I think we'll just have to make our excuses and bow out. She's completely overloaded. I keep hoping it'll be different with each event, and, whether it's at someone's house, at a bouncy place (the bouncy part of the event is just fine, but she melts down when it's time to transition to the party room, and gets completely overwhelmed in the small room with loud voices, even when she's wearing headphones), or, as in last night's case, Chuck E. Cheese. Her behavior is nothing like the happy-go-lucky child enjoying a party, but more like a stunned deer, caught in the headlights, not wanting to be anywhere near the other kids, refusing to move to do something fun, refusing to move to eat cake or pizza, even refusing to move if I tell her it's time to go home (oh, the meltdown!!! You'd have thought she was being attacked!). Gone is my happy, funny, loquacious, vibrant and engaging little girl, replaced by one even I don't recognize.
Child, what do you want?
I honestly don't know.
But, for now, we'll take a break (not like she's been invited to more than a couple in the last year, but hell, no wonder!).
And I'll hope that one day she'll be okay with it. And will have fun. And I will no longer feel guilty for forcing her to do something I should have learned a long time ago was not enjoyable to her. I will no longer have to listen to her sweet, sniffly little voice from that beautiful, tragically tear-stained face, tell me she's sorry when it's me that was wrong for putting her in that situation. I tell her again and again I'm so sorry she was so sad. And last night do you know how she responded?
That's okay, Mommy, I still love you.