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Where’s My Plus One? My Boyfriend’s Kids Gets An Invite But Mine Doesn’t

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I told my boyfriend, point blank, that my daughter and I come as a “package  deal“ and we wouldn’t be attending the wedding unless both of us were invited.

This put my boyfriend in a very uncomfortable position, having to call a cousin he doesn’t know that well to ask (beg/plead) if it was okay for me to bring my daughter to their wedding. (First he called his sister and also his mother to see if it would be appropriate to even ask.)

“Tell her my daughter doesn’t eat anything! Tell her that she can sit on my lap!” I yelled, knowing that the reason most people don’t want extra guests, especially ones they are not close with, is the cost of the extra meals.

I didn’t want to ruin or add stress to my boyfriend’s cousin’s wedding. It’s just that my boyfriend’s two children were invited. So the one and only person who wasn’t invited was my daughter.

Sure, I get it. This cousin hasn’t met me. She was being generous in paying for an extra plate so my boyfriend could bring a date (me.) But, like I said, this date comes as a “package deal” and I wasn’t getting off my couch unless my daughter was coming with me.

I couldn’t possibly imagine leaving my daughter behind with the nanny as I went off with my boyfriend and his two children to a wedding! To me, it would feel like part of a puzzle was missing. I kept having these thoughts of my daughter in her pajamas waving at the door as my boyfriend and I, and his two children, all dressed up, took off on her. Nope, it wasn’t happening. If my daughter wasn’t invited, I wasn’t going.

Granted, in this day and age, where there are many blended families, who the heck knows what the etiquette is in inviting people to parties and celebrations?

I do, however, know that when my daughter’s name is left off an invitation, it seems to feel a lot like being invited to a wedding in your twenties without a “plus one,” except an even more grown-up version. (Note to people: If you have single friends, always make sure they can bring a date, even if they are single!)

Then, a few weeks later, I was invited with my boyfriend and my daughter to my best friend’s son’s Bar Mitzvah. My boyfriend’s daughters weren’t invited. My boyfriend brought this up.

“Well, it’s my best friend,” I said. “And she hasn’t even met your daughters. And, also, it’s different, because your kids have each other while my daughter is an only child. They have each other! My daughter has no one but me!”

Yes, we were in the same situation again. Except, and I really believe this, since my daughter is an only child, she and I are used to being a package deal. His children, on the other hand, could play with each other, happily watched over by their grandmother, while we were off to the Bar Mitzvah. In this case, it’s not like just one person was left off the list.

“And, anyway, Bar Mitzva’s aren’t fun,” I told my boyfriend. “Your girls won’t be missing anything.”

Yes, it was hypocritical. But asking for two extra plates is different than asking for one extra plate. (About $140 difference.)

When I told my best friend that my boyfriend was slightly upset his kids weren’t invited (we tell each other everything), she immediately said, “I didn’t even think about that.”

And that’s what it comes down to. My daughter, I realized, wasn’t invited to the wedding because the wedding hosts didn’t think about her at all. My boyfriend’s children weren’t invited to the Bar Mitzvah because my best friend “didn’t even think about that.”

It’s not a slight. It’s just that plain and simple worries along the lines of, “Oh my god, how about the flower arrangements and where am I going to seat that great uncle and did everyone RSVP” are at the forefront of these hosts’ minds, much more so than who is dating whom and does that person have children?

I also think it’s hard when hosts don’t really know how serious your relationship is. His cousins certainly didn’t know that we are well into the blending our families or certainly she wouldn’t have left out my daughter.

So, is the onus on the hosts to take the time to look at their guest lists and ask around to see how serious a relationship is and if that guest may have a child or two that maybe should be invited as well?

Or is it up to us guests to just smile, dress up, go celebrate and leave a child or two behind?

It’s one thing if it’s just me and my boyfriend who get invited to an event without children whatsoever. Then I’m more than happy to attend. But I really do think of us as a family now and to leave one or two children behind would be wrong.

So, yes, if you’re planning on inviting me to your wedding or Bar Mitzvah, from here on, make sure the invitation reads, “Rebecca Eckler plus four!”

I’ll pay for the extra plates if necessary.

(Photo: Hemera)