“Sorry, Honey. You Can’t Go.”


Marsha Delaney: Posted on Saturday, October 20, 2012 11:36 AM

While standing with my daughter at school a couple of weeks ago waiting for the first bell to ring, another student’s grandmother approached me and handed me a little slip of paper. I opened it up and it was an invitation to her granddaughter’s birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s. “Oh, yay,” I said, although internally I cringed.

Chuck E. Cheese’s is not the place to send my daughter. This was Friday morning; the invitation was for Sunday. Not only did sending my daughter to a birthday party at all involve planning ahead on my part, cooking and baking so she could eat while she was there, but Chuck E. Frickin’ Cheese’s? Talk about a gluten cross-contamination nightmare. I couldn’t help but picture it in my head: kids who had just eaten regular pizza (I’m sure I’ve never seen a kid rush off to the bathroom to wash his/her hands immediately after eating pizza in such an establishment), rush around, touching every game with their greasy little hands, then my daughter comes along (after eating the gluten-free pizza I’d made for her), plays one game, wipes her hand on her face, and blammo. Sick and psychotic for an entire month. Thanks for the invitation, but please, no thank you.

Obviously, I don’t blame the parents or the grandmother of this little girl for inviting us. My daughter is her friend, after all. I was simply perturbed at the situation I was immediately thrown into. I had to deny my daughter’s going to her friend’s birthday party. I knew I had to do it. I was going to be the mean mommy, the horrible mommy, the mommy who just doesn’t understand anything. I was wracked with conflicting thoughts and emotions. How could I deny my daughter a birthday party? No, I had to deny her. It just wasn’t worth the risk. Or was it? It wasn’t. I knew it wasn’t.

I thought about how I was going to tell her all day. The situation ate at me. When I picked her up from school, she asked me about it. I took a deep breath, readying myself for my defense and said, “Honey, I’m sorry, but I just can’t let you go.”

“Okay,” she said. Wait. What? Okay? Did she just say, “Okay?” Oh my God. What kid says that?

I was SO proud of my daughter. She knew. She knew she couldn’t go to THAT place and she’d made peace with it. She was fine. She held no grudge against me. She was a rock star.

God, I love that little girl.

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