Trying not to type swearwords as i write this so bare with me.
My little 3yo attends meetings with her JW mum (who doesn't believe Watchtower anymore but is stuck in because she relies on her family for help). My mum (the one who tells people im dead) had a party for her grandchildren. That's my 4 nieces and 1 nephew aged from 3yo-11yo. My daughter actually didn't receive and invite but my ex-wife naturally assumed that of course she'd be invited, mother probably just forgot to send the card to her address. So my ex turns up at my mums house with my little girl who's dressed up in a new dress excited to her the nana that hasn't bothered with her in a whole year.
What happened for the rest of the evening surprised even my ex-wife. This is what i was told:
When the door opened my sister was standing there. She said "oh!" and looked surprised, went back into the house, whispered something to someone and my mum and my mums husband came to the door. The were polite but said "we didnt know you'd be coming" (translation: you wernt invited, who told you about this party?). They let her in anyway, and my ex was slightly confused but shrugged it off as probably her misinterpreting what just happened. Inside theres tables full of food, cake, sweets, in the garden there's a bouncy castle and kids from various congregations running around playing with eachother. Other JWs from the congregation i grew up in and parents etc.
She puts my little girl down and off she runs to play. My sisters and their husbands (one's recently been promoted to MS so he's a bit up himself (this is the same guy who has a pornography addiction that the elders dont know about)). They tell her "it's nice to see you. We didnt know you'd be here. How are you, how's <my daughter>?". They catch up. My MS brother in law asks "i hear Mark doesnt go to the meetings. Does he tell <daughter> that the religion is wrong?". To her credit she told them "Mark is an atheist. He doesnt talk about religion unless you specifically ask him". They scoffed and said i cant possibly be an atheist because i know "the truth". She told them "No, he really is. When i ask him about God in general he has answers for not believing".
Im told the rest of the evening was uncomfortable because she was clearly not made to feel welcome. She goes into the garden and our daughter is on her own in her new dress but the other kids wont play with her. She's upset because when she tried to join in, they take their toys and walk away from her. Then one of the kids told her "no one likes you because you dont love Jehovah". My daughter doesnt even know who/what Jehovah is. The kid who said it, her mum told the kid off for saying it but it was clear, according to my ex, the the JWs there had been briefed that this little girl is the daughter of an apostate. Why else would kids who've just met her say that? One of my neices said "go away, you're not our friend". This seemed to be the final straw for my little one and she was found quietly crying inside the house on her own. My MS brother in law even walked past her crying and ignored her. So my ex picked our girl up and left. No one seen her to the door, no one said goodbye, no one even noticed. My mum didn't even speak to my little girl. Her cousins didnt play with her either.
Later, there's a knock on my door. I open it and it's my little girl and her mum. She goes "DADDYYYYYYY!!!!" and sticks her arms out. "What a surprise!" i say. My ex tells me the story. Im absolutely livid. I have my daughter for the evening and overnight. She knows who loves her unconditionally. She tells me "You're my best friend". I tell her that's right. and we have a dance. We play games etc and as im doing some work in the garden i bring out some pots and pans and we make a drumset. She's banging away with some sticks and sings this song:
She's been told that some people dont like her. She refers to my mother as "the nana that doesn't like me?" (meaning her, not me). At 3yo she already knows what it's like to be shunned and excluded for something that is out of her control. Even my ex was shocked. She's not taking her there again.
This is bullying. Absolutely no excuse for behavior like that. Me and my little girl have a rule, we're nice to everyone. Regardless of race, religion or anything else. So far it's done us good.
It's unfortunate that she had to learn exclusion and sadness from "Jehovah's people".