Birthdays May Look A Little Different This Year, But We’re Still Celebrating
BY BRIANNA BELL
Photo © davidpfenelus/Twenty20
May 13, 2020
My oldest daughter was born in May, my favourite month of the year, and the same month that my husband and I were married. It felt like a perfect time to have a baby. I was pregnant through the winter, and our daughter spent her first few months of life cooing on picnic blankets and enjoying long spring and summer walks in her stroller. When our second daughter arrived in May, only four days before her sister’s second birthday, we all couldn’t believe the impeccable timing.
My husband and I spent two years debating whether we’d have a third child — this time I was adamant we’d be celebrating a birthday in any other month, just not May. We tried to get pregnant for a year, and I found out I was expecting on a hot August day. Our last baby made her arrival on a rain-soaked day in May.
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The logistics of planning birthdays so close together has become a challenge I have gladly accepted. I love making my girls feel special, and typically plan separate parties throughout the month of May. Last May, I would have never imagined that we would be housebound and facing a pandemic. Birthday month looks very different this year, and while celebrating birthdays might seem unimportant when our world is facing a catastrophic public health crisis, it certainly is a big deal to my three little girls.
In our home, most of April is spent anticipating what birthday month will be like. This year I tried not to mention birthdays to my kids hoping that we could dampen the hype just a little bit. But my kids are getting older and by mid-April they caught on that their birthdays were fast approaching. My youngest started talking about all the people who would come to her birthday party, listing her grandparents, aunts, uncles and nearby friends. I felt like my heart was shattering, knowing that my three-year-old deserved the world, but I wouldn’t be able to provide her with a party this year.
For a special birthday treat, learn how to make two-ingredient doughnuts. For full recipe, go here.
For the last few weeks I’ve been in planning mode, scouring websites and ordering party supplies, special gifts and wrapping paper. I’ve had to plan early because I need to make sure that the items will be shipped to me in time. While I may not be able to provide the type of birthday my kids are used to, I can create something new for them.
For birthday month we’ll decorate the house with streamers and banners, and then on each day my kids will have their own special birthday decorations that fit the theme they chose. I’ve purchased loot bags for their sisters, and some special presents for them to tear into in the morning. A sweet friend offered to bake my kids their own special cakes, and I know that family members will be stopping by to drop off gifts and enjoy a brief social distanced visit. We have Zoom calls planned with friends, and we’ll make sure that each girl feels extra cherished, loved and adored on their birthday.
To top things off, our city has a group of volunteers that offer birthday parades for kids. As a surprise, our girls will be enjoying a birthday parade, where community members and nearby friends will shower them with birthday wishes and car honks, and some will even throw wrapped gifts out their window (handle these gifts with the same care you do your groceries and other items).
Skip the cake and make a frozen treat! Check out how to DIY strawberry frozen yogurt.
Planning a child’s birthday in the middle of a pandemic is not easy. Planning three birthdays during social isolation has proven time consuming and stressful, but I’ll do anything to make my children feel special.
Nothing is normal right now, but I’m hoping that in May we can settle into a new normal. This year, I’m focused on finding unique ways to make my kids feel as loved as they are.
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