DS has a bday coming up in a couple months (he'll be turning 6), and for awhile now he has been asking if his whole family could please come to his party (meaning me, my parents, Ex, ex-mil, and ex-sil) this year (we usually do separate celebrations). This is all he has been asking for...no presents, just his entire family together for his special day. While part of me cringes at the thought of having to deal with ex and his family, I am more than willing to suck it up and be friendly for DS's birthday party. I told Ex that DS would really like everyone to come this year and I would be sending invitations soon, and he said to wait because he needed to talk to his mom & sis about it. Well, he called me yesterday and said that since the party would not be in "neutral territory" (since it will be in my backyard), that none of them would come. I've considered moving the party to somewhere more "neutral", but I really don't want to spend the money trying to rent a place. And honestly, I don't think any of them would come anyway.
So, how do I tell this to DS? He is going to be seriously disappointed, and I have no idea how to explain why his dad, grandma, and aunt refuse to come. It just breaks my heart.
Mama to DS (5)
I agree that asking him to split the cost of somewhere more neutral is a good idea. Would he flip out if he spoke to his mom and sister directly? Is it possible that he is the one not comfortable coming to your house and is speaking for the whole family?
If it doesn't work out and they still will not come to his party, I think you should probably tell your son the truth (gently)-that you invited them, but they would rather have a separate party just for them. It's sad, and he might not understand it, but you did what you could and invited them.
My ds has a bday coming up too-we were just talking about his party and he mentioned offhand something that he wanted to do with his dad during the party-except I hadn't really planned on ex being there! I did ask ex if he wanted to do something all together on ds' actual bday, so hopefully that will satisfy ds. Otherwise, I too will be sucking it up and inviting ex to my house, whether he chooses to come or not. Good for you for being the bigger person for your son's sake!
If you can't work out the expense of the neutral territory, maybe you can make it possible for him to see both sides of the family in succession, like a party for him with you and then a supper with them? It will be so much easier, though. It's not nice for the kid if the family is not warm with each other. You can't control their behavior.
He might cry about it, because it's disappointing. You might cry too. That's OK. It's OK to have feelings and be disappointed. He will be all right and he will have a happy birthday no matter what. This is one of those situations where you have to be tactful and not slam the other family, but also truthful.
My ex and I have organized all the birthday parties together since he left. The relatives live out of town, so we dodged that bullet. I cannot imagine how my mom would behave herself if she had to interact with my ex. In two years my kid's going to be bar mitzvah, and I hope my mom and my sister can pull themselves together. My sister is so furious I am afraid she might explode.
Anyway, we've coordinated parties for him and run them jointly, first at a neutral site (which cost so much!) then at my ex-h's place, then at my place. The first one was absolute hell, the second was better. I would say the one this year at my house went pretty well, but the children are older now and it was a lot less work.
Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.