Burleson Moms save girl’s birthday party
Holley Vander Laan, 7, a first-grader at Brock Elementary School, had very high hopes for her birthday party.
Her mother, Jennifer Smith Vander Laan, was optimistic, too.
Vander Laan had sent 22 invites with her daughter to her schoolmates for the party – scheduled for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 4 at Buffalo Nickels Mini-Golf & Arcade, 241 Elk Drive.
But something went wrong.
As of party time, not one single RSVP had been returned to indicate Holley’s invitations had been received.
“I hope people show up,” Vander Laan posted warily to her immediate friends on Facebook. “She’s so excited.”
Facebook friend Debra Diament cautioned: “I’d call and check or send text reminders.”
Vander Laan responded that she really didn’t have a way to do that.
“It was her class,” the mother responded. “I don’t have contact info or I would.”
As 2 p.m. approached, no one showed up to Holley’s party room at Buffalo Nickels.
The 7-year-old was crushed.
“No one came and I could see the heartbreak on her face,” Vander Laan said.
But members of the Facebook group Burleson Moms came to the rescue.
Vander Laan posted her dilemma – or vented about it, rather – on the Burleson Moms Facebook forum, which boasts 2,900 members.
She caused no small amount of response from the group.
“The thread about it is like super long on the Burleson Moms Group forum,” said Katherine Reading, a member of the group.
With permission, several of the mothers on the forum brought their kids to this party within 15 minutes – determined to turn Holley’s frown upside down.
“Seven moms brought gifts and their kids,” Katherine Reading said. “She had a full table who all sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to her.”
Vander Laan said this reversal of fortune was an amazing experience.
“The moms who came to the party with their kids really saved the day,” she said. “Holley had such an amazing time. I’m so thankful.”
Holley acted shy around the many boys at the party but made at least one really cool new girl friend, her mother said.
Vander Laan said she didn’t expect any of the Burleson Moms to actually attend the party. She was just venting on their Facebook site.
“I just told them how heartbroken Holley was,” Vander Laan said. “The first mom then asked if she could bring her kids, three boys and a girl and from there it snowballed. I mean, these moms – they watch each others’ backs.”
After the party, Vander Laan and other mothers posted on Facebook, trying to deconstruct why the children originally invited did not show up.
Miranda Desruisseaux: “Is there any way the invitations to them didn’t make it?”
Jennifer Smith Vander Laan: “She passed them out herself and said that everyone got one. I will assume not all were given to the parents though.”
Miranda Desruisseaux: “Yeah, I’ve personally missed a few parties from invitations being given from kids to kids.”
Barbie Piccolo: “The kids probably didn’t give it to their parents. I get them like an hour before an event sometimes. Or I find them in their backpacks.”
Reading, meanwhile, said all the involved Burleson Moms felt really good about saving a little girl’s birthday party – and seeing that little girl’s sweet, happy smile.
“Heart is warm,” Reading said in an email sent when the party was still going on earlier. “ I’m literally almost crying right now.”