When schools started closing due to the growth of COVID-19 cases, selfishly, one of my first thoughts was, I hope this does not change all of our birthday plans! Not only were we knee-deep in planning a 60th surprise party for my mom at the end of March, but my daughter turned 5 on April 2nd.
This would have been the first year she had a party with all of her preschool friends before they go their separate ways to different elementary schools. We also throw our kids pretty big family parties each year. As news continued to change each day and more and more restrictions were being put into place, all of which my family has taken very seriously, we knew we had to make some significant adjustments to our party plans.
Surely, my soon to be 5-year-old would not quite understand why celebrating her birthday this year would be so different than the way we celebrated her brothers’. So, how could we make it special?
The first thing I did was hop on my computer and start ordering some gifts. We typically do experience gifts for our kids, but with so much uncertainty on when things will return to ‘business as usual,’ an experience gift isn’t the best option. I also ordered decorations so we could still throw a party, including the people who live in our house. Target and Amazon have maintained reliability in delivery and order pick-up, but I suggest ordering as early as possible!
Next, I started researching some local delivery options. My family has been doing our best to support small, local businesses, and what better way than using them for my daughter’s birthday? I found that multiple party stores are offering no contact balloon delivery! One is Party Hardy in Westport, and the other is Beach Party Balloons in Milford, but offering delivery to Fairfield County! We also had our favorite donuts from Donut Crazy delivered in the morning for breakfast and ordered an ice cream cake from Paradice Cream, a local family-owned ice cream shop in Paradise Green in Stratford!
My biggest concern in all of this was that my daughter would wonder why her extended family and friends weren’t celebrating with her. Even when we explained it, it still did not seem to make sense to her. My solution was to ask people to mail cards and pictures. It is always fun, in my opinion, to have mail to open.
Our family, who lives close by, did a birthday parade, which was a huge hit! We stood on our porch while family drove by, honked, sang Happy Birthday, and played a few other favorite songs. Our daycare, where my daughter attends preschool, has an online portal for communicating and posting pictures. I decided to post a picture of my daughter on her birthday, expressing how she can’t wait to celebrate with her friends when she finally can. This resulted in all of her teachers and classmates reaching out to send birthday wishes.
All of these small but special gestures reminded my daughter that everyone was still thinking about her on her birthday, even if it was from a distance.
The 5th birthday my daughter actually had was certainly not the 5th birthday we had initially planned. But, one thing I know for sure is that when she thinks back on this birthday, she will have fond memories. She’ll remember her small party with her mom, dad, and brothers. She’ll remember the small acts of kindness, and she’ll know how much she is truly loved by her entire family and friends.
Do you have a child with a birthday that falls within the period of social distancing? What are you doing to make your child’s birthday special?