We have been living through this global pandemic for over a year now. Our lives have been changed forever, and we have to find new ways to celebrate life! Last year, we were afraid to open the doors to family, friends and our neighbors. Some of those people were claimed by the virus, but they will be with us forever in our memories and dreams.
Celebrating holidays and birthdays, and even waking up to find joy in each day, can be challenging for some of us. Healing does not happen overnight. But eventually, the pain of that loss lessens and you find reasons to laugh or smile. This was the first holiday that my son, The Boy, spent with his father’s family after losing his grandmother. They remembered her by sharing stories and eating her favorite recipes, as a family.
Our family has another reason to celebrate, The Boy is going to be 13 years old in a week! I just cannot believe how fast thirteen years have gone by or how the past year has moved in slow motion. This time last year, I was planning his twelfth birthday and first virtual party. As with so many other families, the festivities were in front of a laptop, instead of in person. We had a cheesy theme to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day and his birthday. Guests shared their best and corniest jokes. Our house was filled with the laughter of most of his friends and family. His gifts included video games and his own pack of toilet paper. Ha! It was a really coveted item last year!
I chose to use the HouseParty platform last year, and we learned the hard way that it has its limitations. Only nine users are allowed at the party, so several people could not join to celebrate with us. So this year we are going to have a party that allows more people to participate. I am going to allow him to take the lead in planning his thirteenth party, which is a change that he has been looking forward to all year. He told me, “Mom, you always do the most, and I just want a low-key party.”
In the past, he had birthday parties in the kitchen of the Giant Cooking School, located at the Camp Hill Giant, a Dynamic Double Party when he hit double digits at the Carlisle Sports Emporium, and even a special appearance from one of his favorite characters, Scooby-Doo, thanks to PartyToonz Mascots Booking. These parties may have been a bit much, but they were so much fun at the time. I cannot believe that we used to find it acceptable to have people blow candles out on birthday cakes that guests are supposed to then “enjoy.” That is one tradition I am glad to see come to an end.
The Boy would like to host a taco party with the people in our COVID Bubble. We are looking forward to seeing our closest friends and family all together for the first time in a year. Now that many of them have chosen to be vaccinated and are all comfortable wearing masks and physically distancing in social settings we can gather. We’ll be gathering in the driveway and front yard to allow those that are not comfortable or part of our COVID Bubble to drive by and wave. Don’t worry – we’ll still have cheesy jokes to dish out with every taco!