One of the strangest things about the COVID-19 social distancing requirements are the parts of life that have to be celebrated in different ways. For the past month friends of mine have inspired me with the ways they’ve celebrated their children’s birthdays at a time when parties, friends and traditional experiences are on hold due to the pandemic.
From drive-by “parties” like the one in the lead pictures accompanying this article, to signs hung up all over neighborhoods, I find myself choked up every day or two with the resilience and adaptability friends have shown as they try to create special moments in trying times. Recently someone decorated the fence near the Inter-American School and I found myself smiling through tears on my walk:
I had a similar reaction to this apartment window that caught my eye a couple of days later near Lake Shore Drive:
Multiple windows plus the balloon just made me smile and I hope it made Josh smile too.
The work that goes into planning these special moments is probably at least as intensive as planning a party. My friend Tara Tate Carr has been documenting her time under the stay at home order with her family daily on social media in a spirit that is similar to this diary. I love seeing what she and her daughter Kelcie are up to on a regular basis.
Kelcie’s sixth birthday was one week into the quarantine. As you can imagine, she was upset about the things she’d be missing out on — special time with her schoolmates, a birthday party, you know, all the things that are the most important things in the world to you when you are turning six years old. At the beginning of the week Tara put out a call to her friends to try and ease the pain of a pandemic birthday with another other Kelcie’s favorite things — mail.
It was a brilliant move. Kelcie got to celebrate her birthday for days as the cards and packages arrived and we all got to live vicariously through the joy of a mom and her six year old for a few days. Since this is a baseball blog I’ll share that I sent books from the Smarty Marty series that San Francisco Giants field reporter Amy Gutierrez wrote a few years ago. Yes, I am a baseball evangelist even in a pandemic.
A few days later I received something even better in return - a hand drawn thank you card showing two girls playing baseball from Kelcie:
Baseball will be back eventually, and Tara and I have already made plans to take Kelcie to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field when that day comes. In the meantime, kudos to all the parents out there finding creative ways to celebrate their kiddos’ birthdays during a pandemic. Your friends see your work, and the love and effort that goes into every celebration is inspiring.