I don’t have kids, but this one broke my heart. I’m so sorry. To be perfectly honest, I think the whole birthday party thing is more for the parents than the kids. They can get really elaborate and even competitive, and who needs that. When I was growing up, it wasn’t a big deal, and I only remember one little girl having a birthday party. At least, that’s the only one I remember being invited to! (Oh wait, there was another one. So maybe two.)
I LOVE the idea of inviting his baseball team. And, there’s a lot of great advice here, including having one favorite friend over and doing something exciting. He and a buddy can have a fantastic day that you’d otherwise be spending on a lot of kids he’s not close to.
I even like the thought about the kids being so busy, etc., and you and your wife keeping a game face. My guess is you are probably more upset than your son, and at that age, he should still be fairly easy to redirect.
I hope you’ll post again, and let us know how it goes. Life sucks a lot of the time when you’re a kid, but he’ll be fine. We all go through awkward stages, and some kids seem to have a leg up when it comes to socializing, popularity, etc. That sure wasn’t me, and the only birthday party I ever had was with my family. It was wonderful!