Our unexpected first birthday celebration
Updated: Dec 6, 2020
My daughter turned one on March 25th. We had planned a small party for her with friends and family for March 21st. Right before shit hit the fan with the Covid-19 pandemic.
We weren’t sure leading up to her party if we should cancel or not. It seemed like there wasn’t a ton of information available to the general public at the time on proper practices, and everything we found said that we should keep from gathering with “large” parties. It was kind of a “take it day-by-day” situation at that point. This wouldn’t have been a large gathering. And no cities or states around us had ordered any stay at home rules (yet). So, what were we to do? It was our daughter’s FIRST birthday. And there were so many people that would have been severely disappointed to not get to celebrate our little human’s first lap around the sun.
We have quite a few people in our immediate family that fall under the “high risk” category with heart issues, cancer treatments, asthma…. The more we thought about it, and those people that we hold near and dear, the more we felt having a birthday party wasn’t the right decision. My husband and I aren’t considered high risk, so it wasn’t a decision for he or I. But it was a decision for those we hold dear and loved ones of theirs.
We made the announcement that we were canceling the party, and at the time, it was still before any of this had really taken off in our area. I am sure there were some guests who thought we were being ridiculous. But we thought, “let them think that. If they can think that, it means they’re alive.” Even still, there were guests who were relieved to not have to decide to put their family at risk or worry about upsetting us by not attending. And knowing that those people felt relief by us canceling, meant we were doing the right thing.
That doesn’t mean that every single one of us was not disappointed. One year is such a milestone. I’ve been thinking about my little red head smashing her first birthday cake for at least six months now. And I was actually heartbroken to think that the people who have been there for us most during this first year, couldn’t have been there to help celebrate our special day.
My husband and I decided that, obviously, we would still make the day special for Addison. He is considered an essential employee, so he is still required to go to work, but we planned to have him duck out a little early so that we had ample time for a meal and a cake smash, just our little trio.
I woke up the morning of Addison’s birthday and decided that we were going to make the best of the day together, just the two of us. I was going to pour into her and soak up every second of my time with my sweet little one year old.
Should have known, that is not how the day turned out at all.
While on the job, my husband found a little puppy covered in fleas and ticks. She needed to go to the vet for a microchip scan and some flea treatment. My afternoon turned into taking care of said puppy and trying to find her family. Addison didn’t seem to mind- it still got us outdoors and in the sunshine.
The rest of the day was spent facetiming/chatting with family. I loved that everyone wanted to SEE Addison and wish her a happy birthday, and also tell me “congratulations” for getting to this point, because Y’ALL it is HARD getting to this point.
But I felt like I spent my whole day doing everything other than pouring into my birthday bean.
I felt like I lost out on valuable time with just the two of us, because everyone else wanted a piece of our day. Hear me when I say, I love our tribe and I love that they wanted to share special time with us, its not that at all. It’s just that when our plans got cancelled, I decided that perhaps it was a blessing. An excuse to have time with just our family and not feel guilty for not sharing bits and pieces with everyone else.
But we still somehow shared bits and pieces with everyone else.
Once Michael was home from work, we took off running. We opened presents, we ate dinner together, we smashed a cake and got blue icing everywhere, we took a bath and we stayed up until 7:34pm (so that mama could kiss that sweet baby’s head at the exact time she entered the world one year prior).
I felt like the day went by and I didn’t get to “live” or feel any of it.
I made a vow that the following day, we would ignore phone calls, we would spend our time doing whatever (within covid-19 reason) we wanted. But most importantly, I would pause often to soak it all in.
And that is just what we did.
My phone remained elsewhere (except for picture taking, cause, well, I can’t help it), and the day was spent playing with new birthday toys and soaking up the Texas sunshine.
It is what I wanted all along. And it is just what my heart needed. It is in no way how I thought we would ring in Addison’s first birthday, but we celebrated, and selfishly we enjoyed the time we were handed to do so with just our trio.
So, if you’re going to be celebrating a birthday under quarantine, try to find the silver lining. How often do you get to enjoy a birthday without other people vying to be a part of it? Set aside time to do something that makes you happy and soak up every. Single. Second. of it. Pause often. Take pictures. Remember it. The world is pretty weird right now. But take advantage of this time with your people, if you can.