While our world might seem upside down in tons of ways right now, some things about life remain the same. Birthdays and Mother’s Day for example. Birthdays are going to come, Covid-19 or not! And birthdays call for celebrations like happy hour with your girlfriends or maybe a meal with special food and gathering your family and other loved ones.
Planning a celebration takes some organizational skills and creativity in the best of times, right? But now, when we can’t physically be together, things get even trickier. Have you seen the stories about “parades” of sorts, where friends and family drive by the house of the person being celebrated, horns blaring with congratulatory signs and shouts of “happy birthday!” And, “we love you!?” From experience with my son’s birthday recently, I can honestly say this is a lot of fun and is a nice substitute for having a party. After all, the point is to show the birthday boy or girl that we all care about them and are happy they have been in our lives for another year; so the parade is a lovely, yet safe gesture.
Another recent family birthday inspired a new-fangled celebration of sorts when my brother, a foodie and excellent cook, decided he wanted to cook for his daughter, also a foodie and cook, on her 30th birthday. The problem is he’s in Boca Raton, Florida and my niece is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; plus we’re in a nation-wide quarantine, and there is no getting together. You know the rules…
My brother enjoys treating his loved ones with special meals he’s cooked. My niece’s boyfriend loves eating delicious meals, but as far as cooking goes -- not so much! My niece does the cooking in their relationship; so when my niece’s 30th birthday was coming up a couple of weeks ago, my brother really wanted to cook her favorite steak for her which is a grilled ribeye.
Dad conspired with his daughter's bf, told him exactly what to buy, and planned a meal that those in Boca and those in Pittsburgh could cook together and eat the same things while visiting via Zoom. Genius, right!?!? According to my niece, it really felt like they were all together. They set up their laptops in both locations, they all drank the same champagne, my brother coached his daughter’s boyfriend through seasoning and perfectly cooking his first steak: it was a fabulous 30th birthday celebration! My niece even blew out the candles on her cake! They laughed; they cried; they made the best of the situation.
Birthdays, graduations, and a little holiday called Mother’s Day (Zoom breakfast in bed, perhaps?) are around the corner for all of us, and unfortunately it doesn’t seem like we’ll be gathering for parties any time soon. I encourage you to be creative and use technology; making the most of these very strange days in which we find ourselves. Instead of lamenting these troubling times and focusing on the things we CAN’T do right now, look for new ways to be together, to celebrate, and continue to enjoy living our lives together -- however we make that happen.