Tiny Steps Mommy Tales: A Heart Breaks in Brooklyn


Tiny Steps Mommy Tale

Editor’s Note: This is the first in the Tiny Steps Mommy Tales series written by real parents. I chose to run this post first since it is a story close to my heart. The writer is my mother and I was the kindergartener. I was only five-years-old, but I remember this incident well. As you can see, my love of writing is just one of the many things I inherited from my wonderful mother!

A Heart Breaks in Brooklyn

By Blanca Alvarado

I have many memories of when the girls were little, mostly good, but some bad. One in particular stands out in my mind. In 1981, we lived in Brooklyn Heights which was and is an affluent neighborhood in New York City. We lived there because my husband was the resident manager of a cozy boutique hotel. We lived in a cluster of hotel rooms that had been renovated and turned into a two bedroom apartment.

I have four daughters, but at the time, I only had two. My first two daughters are only nineteen months apart and naturally, they were inseparable. When my
first-born went to kindergarten, it was the first time they were apart for most of the day.

My second daughter stayed with a daycare provider while I taught in an upper Manhattan neighborhood. The kindergartener made friends and one in particular became a favorite. We’d invite Jordan over to play, and my two daughters and Jordan would play dress-up and have tea parties.

One day, my daughter came home with a birthday invitation. Jordan was going to have a girls-only birthday at the nearest (Gucci) McDonalds. The girls were so excited! The party was going to be on a weekday after school, so I wasn’t going to be able to be back from work, on time, to take them. However, I arranged for my daycare provider to take the girls to Jordan’s party.

It must have been around three-thirty and I was driving on the FDR highway on route towards Brooklyn. I was thinking about the girls when all of a sudden I felt a deep emotional pain. I almost heard my daughter crying. I knew that something wrong had happened to my second daughter. I felt nauseous and almost had to pull over. I was absolutely sure of what had happened. I started to cry and drove like a madwoman home.

I parked the car and ran to the McDonalds. I looked around and saw my kindergartener and she looked sad. I waved her over, and she quietly told me that her sister wasn’t allowed to stay because she hadn’t been invited. The daycare provider had to pull her crying sister away. I felt the pain of rejection. I also knew that my first-born felt bad about being able to partake and not her sister. I hugged her and told her that it wasn’t her fault. Jordan’s mother saw me and quickly came over to try to explain her decision. I cut her off. I didn’t want to hear what possible excuse she could give for breaking a four-year-old’s heart over a birthday party at McDonalds!

That evening, I spent a lot of time doing damage control. We are Puerto Rican and in our culture, if a child is invited to another child’s birthday it is customary to invite their siblings as well. In fact, no special invitation is necessary. It is a given, because it’s considered extremely rude and insensitive to exclude the sibling especially if they are close in age.

My precious four-year-old had her heart broken. I felt it as keenly as she did. My oldest hugged her sister many times and probably felt guilty for having stayed. We cried together and I made up some excuse about only kindergarteners being allowed to go and that’s why she hadn’t been able to stay. We read stories, ate milk and cookies, and sang songs. Finally, everyone fell asleep.

I’m sure she’s probably forgotten that experience, but deep inside it left a scar. To this day, and even as I tearfully write this, I feel her pain and experience the guilt I still feel for not having made sure that the invitation included her as well. I will never understand that woman’s cold-hearted decision to turn my little girl away. What lesson did she imagine she taught her child that day?

Blanca Alvarado is a mother of four and a retired elementary school teacher. She currently lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband and enjoys writing, singing, and spending time with her grandchildren.


Nicole Dash is a writer, blogger and business owner who lives in the suburbs outside Washington, DC with her husband and four children. She started her career as a journalist and copy editor. She also managed public relations and corporate communications for a national franchise company, but in 2006 started a child care business. In 2012, she launched Tiny Steps Mommy, a lifestyle and parenting blog that quickly gained a following and connected her to an expansive group of women-owned businesses. In 2013, she started a digital marketing consulting business that focused on growing community in an authentic way. Through those connections she was inspired to open Play, Work or Dash, a coworking space that also offers onsite childcare up to three hours per day. It is where like-minded professionals pursue their business goals with the extra level of support parents desire; a place where you "bring your kids to work." She is an active member of the Washington, DC blogger community. She has been published on The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode and Pop Sugar.