With the great downsizing and interprovincial move of July 2019, there were a thousand things to do, change, and adapt to. We had storage to contend with, new Walmarts to master, and furniture to buy. Most of August was spent bouncing between stores and the beach, and we were all settling into this new Okanagan lifestyle.

And then September came.

Our oldest entered high school alone. She learned the city bus system alone. She mastered the changing of classes in a building 5x larger than she’d come from without the group of friends she’d left behind.

But six weeks later, she mentioned the name of a kid she’d met. Then another. And another. Next came the shopping trips and texts asking if a friend could come over. And she was good. She misses her other friends immensely, but she’s no longer moving through a sea of 1500 alone.

The youngest slid into his new school quicker, as eight year olds often do. He was naming friends within two weeks and already has a little copycat buddy.

Our middle girl struggled more. She’s shy and wry by nature, a great combo once you know her, but not an easy one when trying to find your place among preteen girls. It took her longer to find her group, but by Christmas, she was doing better.

And then came the two questions I hadn’t considered, the big fears our youngest kids had: What if no one comes to my birthday party? What if no one invites me to theirs?

Birthday parties have always been a big thing in our house thanks to Pinterest. Themed, coordinated events with lots of friends.

But this year, we were entering uncharted territory. There were no whispers of parties for the first five months of school. No invitations, no RSVPing, no buying of presents and forgetting a card. Nothing. Radio silence.

So as our middle girl’s birthday approached, we made a game plan. Spread the invite wide to every girl in her class, plus a few in another who she’d hung out with on the playground. No hesitating at the potential cost. Just invite, invite, invite, and hope two or three responded.

Reader, I had to purchase 17 movie tickets for this afternoon.

As the invitations went out, both youngest kiddos came home with invitations for other parties.

So we did it. We unlocked the Birthday Party achievement. Even if no other invite comes in this year, both kiddos have had those big fears eliminated. And what more could I ask for?

Aside from, maybe, help carrying a million cupcakes to the theatre this afternoon.

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