A Life Lesson Learned While Celebrating Our Child's Birthday Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic
Our Thoughts Today
We have been reluctant to post an article about birthday parties ever since schools were mandated to close, and the state of Massachusetts has been under a stay at home advisory due to the novel coronavirus Covid19 pandemic. Everyone’s first priority is to stay home and stay safe and mitigate spreading the virus.
We have a large extended family, and we are very close. And we always celebrate birthdays together. To give you a sense of our birthday scales, for our children, we usually have two sets of birthdays, a “friends” birthday, generally outside the home, and a “family” birthday where we host a dinner with a full spread for about 35 adults and 10 kids.
We have three boys, a 2, 8, and 10 year old. We had scheduled the family birthday party for our youngest, who was turning 2, for Saturday, March 14. There would be a 3-month-old to 70+ year-olds in attendance. To be ready for this family party, we had planned, prepared for weeks, and were setting up the house that morning. But at around 9 am that Saturday morning we decided to cancel the party. “Social Distancing” had not really started yet, and although everyone was healthy and showed no symptoms, there was no guarantee that nothing could happen. In hindsight, it seems like an obvious decision, but on March 14, no state in the US was under stay at home advisory.
After the decision, we started calling the grandparents and emailing family members regarding our decision. We had to explain to our 8 and 10-year-old the change of plans. The 8-year-old did not take it well, and started crying because he wanted to see his cousins, uncles, and grandparents. After he calmed down and processed why we canceled, he was better. I called to cancel the cake; we started putting away the platters, table leaf, the extra tables, and chairs.
How We Adjusted
We then decided to spend the day as a family talking, joking playing different games. I went to the local market and got 3 Elmo and Cookie Monster cupcakes in place of a cake for 40. After dinner, we lit a candle on the cupcake, and the 5 of us sang happy birthday to our 2-year-old. And you know what, the boys had a great time, the birthday boy kept asking us to sing happy birthday again and again to him, while attempting to blow out the candle. About half of dozen happy birthday songs later, the candle was officially blown out. The kids stuffed their faces with the cupcakes, and we all enjoyed watching the video of our 2-year-old signing and trying to blow out this one candle. For our 2-year-old as expected, it didn’t matter if his birthday was celebrated with a cupcake with us 5 or with a giant cake with 40+ people. For us, this was a reminder that often, as parents, we try so hard to create a great experience for our children when sometimes the simple approach will be just fine for your child.
Many birthdays events have been canceled or adjusted and may continue to for unforeseen reasons in the future, so let us know how you downsized or changed your child’s birthday party. We’d love to hear from you and perhaps get inspired.