Georgia turned 7 on May 30, 2019. On May 31, 2019, she began planning her eighth birthday party. This, I think it’s safe to say, was not part of how any of us planned it.
Back when the lockdown first started in mid-March, I initially thought that everything would be fine by the time her birthday rolled around.
“Psh, school is only closed through the middle of April!” I told her. “I’m sure everything will be back to normal by the end of May!”
Of course, by early April, I realized how foolishly naïve I’d been, and I started preparing Georgia for the fact that her birthday was going to be a little bit different this year.
I’ve always done birthdays up big for my kids. From Ruby’s Hulk and Candy Extravaganza to the Daniel Tiger-themed party for Georgia that found me up at 3 a.m. the morning of wrapping mini-candy bars in personalized paper and drawing tiger stripes on mandarin orange cups that I’d already festooned with googly eyes … I take birthday parties very seriously.
So it’s hard for me to accept that this year, the best I can do is make a cake, order some balloons for curbside pickup, and offer up some presents I bought online. I’m hoping a few family friends and classmates might do a drive-by to have a masked visit for a few minutes, and our next door neighbors have graciously offered to let us use their pool for the day, so it will be at least sort of special, but compared to the parties she is used to, it will definitely be markedly different.
Honestly, though – and I’m not trying to be overly philosophical here, because I’m legitimately bummed and she is even more so – there is something to be said for a stripped-down celebration like this. Like so much else that’s happened over the past 74 days (not that I’m counting!), this has made us realize what really matters: We’re healthy, we’re together as a family, and we’re grateful for one more year of Georgia’s life. That, along with cake and ice cream and some new Nintendo games, is really about all anyone can ask for.
And maybe, just maybe, by the time of her half-birthday, we can have a true blowout celebration.
Happy birthday, Georgie, and many, many more.
Have you or your child celebrated a pandemic birthday? Leave me your tips in the comments.