This year, all three kids and Dan celebrated their birthdays in quarantine due to COVID-19. Prior to the lockdown, I’d reserved a birthday party space at one of our community pools for the girls to have a joint party, sent save-the-dates via text, picked a theme, planned the menu, and researched party decorations. All of that got cancelled. The girls took it all in stride and, honestly, I was a little glad to save the money and stress of party planning. Our fancy dinner date reservations for the girls also got cancelled and, of course, we couldn’t go on any big outings to theme parks, as we had in past years. So, birthdays this year were simpler sans the parties and school celebrations, but everyone still felt loved and celebrated through our little family traditions.
Vivian’s Golden Birthday
Vivian was up first and was so excited to celebrate her golden birthday this year. As per our family tradition, the kitchen was decorated with balloons (thankfully, the grocery store was selling them). We had bought her a few gifts and her grandparents had sent some, also, which I wrapped (if they weren’t already wrapped), and we arranged them on the kitchen counter for her to see first thing in the morning. I had requested a card shower from family and friends and so she also had a slew of heartfelt cards waiting for her to open.
Our normal birthday dinner tradition is to go to BJ’s for pizza, but since we couldn’t do that, we ordered takeout from there. I made a homemade chocolate cake (I think this was the recipe that I used) that she decorated.
At six years old, Vivian is still our sweet snuggler. She’s a great swimmer, reader, bike rider, hiker, skier, and big sister. She loves to pretend play, can’t sit still to save her life, is a budding artist, and makes us so proud. Her baby, toddler, and preschool years are long past her and she is truly now a girl. I can’t think about it too much or else I’ll be a crying mess. I mean, wasn’t I just trying to figure out how to keep her alive and happy as a newborn? And yet, the years will fly by and I’ll soon be reminiscing about the days she read her picture books to me and the nights that she snuggled me before falling asleep.
William’s Second Birthday
Celebrating a child’s second birthday is easy. There’s no first birthday obligations and it’s the last birthday of which they are unaware. By the time they hit three, they know what’s going on and they have expectations. But, two, oh, that is a sweet spot. We had no party planned or dinner reservations for William, so nothing got cancelled. We carried on as we would have pre-pandemic and decorated with balloons, bought him a few gifts, wrapped gifts from grandparents, ordered take-out for dinner, and concluded our celebration with homemade blueberry cake (he loves “bluebeddies). Since William was still in daycare, he did also get to celebrate there with his friends.
William is my forever obsession. I still constantly say every day that he’s just so cute. He lights up my life and makes my heart fly. I’m sure I’m ruining him for life, but I can’t – won’t – stop. And although Mama remains his number one fan, he’s still very much loved by his Daddy and sisters. All this being said, this boy can be trouble! He’s so rambunctious and stubborn and defiant. If you turn your head for a second, when you turn it back, you’ll find him naked on the kitchen counter playing with a large lit candle. Or he’ll have dragged a chair over to the kitchen counter, stood on it, and be starting to wrap his arms around a fresh full pot of coffee (or grab a knife from the knife block). Or he’ll be stealing a drink from your wine glass. With William, you cannot look away! He loves doing things himself (“I do it myself!”), laughing, Team Umizoomi, trains, trucks, hikes, and dirt. Spend five minutes with him and you will be equally in love and exhausted. He’s also all boy. We don’t want to assign gender stereotypes to him, but he fits them so well. William is everything I never knew I wanted and I’m so glad that he joined his sisters in our family two years ago.
Dan Creeps Towards 40
We quietly celebrated Dan’s birthday in Arizona. We make a big deal for the kids’ birthdays, but ours are always subdued. I gave Dan a card that had been sitting in my nightstand drawer for years. It was such a strange card that I was surprised that I had ever bought it for him in the first place. But, I hadn’t been to a store in a long time due to the quarantine, so I wrote a heartfelt message on it and gave it to him. As it turned out, he had actually bought that card for me to give to my dad years ago. Ha!
Lillian’s Fourth Birthday
Our sweet-and-sassy Lilly Belle finally turned four, a milestone that she’d been anxiously awaiting for many months. As with Vivian’s birthday, Lillian’s party and dinner date night got cancelled. But, again, we celebrated with balloons, presents, chocolate-chip pancakes for breakfast, homemade spaghetti for dinner (as requested), and chocolate cake for dessert.
Lillian remains her Daddy’s girl and Vivian’s best friend. She is such a sweet and snuggly little girl and it’s hard not to just eat her up! She loves pretending and playing with Vivian, watching movies and shows, riding her bike (with no training wheels!), coloring, being read to and pretending to read by herself, and dancing and singing. She’s improved a lot in her swimming abilities (which is now on hiatus due to the pandemic). She’s still our homebody (like her Dad) and she still sucks her thumb and twirls her hair. She is small, but strong (seriously, you should see her ride her tiny 12″ bike up hills!). She makes Dan smile daily and say, “I love that girl.” She’s stuck in the middle of our family, but holds her own with confidence. We like to call her our spicy margarita. 🙂
And…that’s a wrap. Four birthdays, all celebrated while sheltering-in-place. I wonder what the kids will remember about them…I have a feeling that they won’t stand out as quarantine birthdays at all!