Ms. Lauren Kovacik
The typical birthday usually consists of a gathering of friends and family, the exchange of presents, the iconic song, and the ultimate finale of blowing out a specific number of candles on top of a decorated cake.
The COVID-19 virus that has spread to almost every country in the world has made these birthday celebrations non-existent. However, even considering the global pandemic, people are still finding ways to celebrate one another on their special days.
Senior Sophie Dauerman says, “For my birthday, my friends surprised me with a video of friends, family, coaches, and teachers wishing me happy birthday. It made my day and helped me feel more connected. Now I’m passing it on and working on a surprise birthday video for someone else!” Having her friends do this allowed Dauerman to be positive in the face of COVID-19, and allowed her to enjoy her birthday even while in quarantine.
Another senior, Abigail Harkness, states, “I think it’s important to still stay connected virtually, even though we can’t be together in person. There have been a few of my friends’ birthdays and we have made videos for them of all their friends and family saying happy birthday. This was an awesome way to show them that we’re all still there for them to celebrate on their special day.” These videos are a powerful memory that anyone who has to have their birthday in quarantine can look back on for years to come, and remember what their friends did for them.
Class president, Mia Brumstead, also adds, “For my quarantine birthday, I had a special celebration with my family. I got to pick out what I wanted for dinner and dessert, and my family put it all together. Even though I was really looking forward to celebrating my 18th birthday with friends, I was happy that I could still find a way to mark this big milestone in my life. Social distancing guidelines have restricted everyone from being connected with friends and family, but there are still innovative ways to celebrate a quarantine birthday, and I hope people take advantage of that.” Celebrating with family is just as important as celebrating with friends, and especially in quarantine they are always there for you to make your birthday special, regardless of a global pandemic.
Ella Thompson was able to come up with a fun way to celebrate, “For one of our friend’s birthday I coordinated with her mom and we got a group of people to come and hold up signs that read “Happy happy Bbirthday” on her lawn. Her mom even put tape in the yard that was eight feet 8ft apart so we knew where to stand. Then we sang happy birthday and left the present and cards on the lawn. Obviously it wasn’t the same as a real birthday party, but it’s so important to show people that you care. A birthday may not seem like a huge deal but everyone is going through something right now and it’s a great way to reach and brighten someone’s day.” Thompson was able to find a way to celebrate that made her friend feel special but also followed the social distancing guidelines that had to be followed.
Lily Michalak says, “I was in a car parade, and I think it’s important because it keeps people’s spirits up and still helps celebrate a birthday.” Ensuring that even in quarantine someone knows that people care about their special day is essential, even under circumstances when normal birthdays and other celebrations aren’t able to happen.
Caitlyn Southworth joined the unconventional way of celebrating along with many others, “For one of my friends birthdays, we did a car parade where we all drove by her house and honked and then looped back around to leave gifts on her lawn. We had taped happy birthday signs to our cars and some people brought balloons. I think this was important because it was a way for us to show her how much we care about her and love her in a way that was safe/ covid-cautious.” Staying distant in a car prevented any risk of the virus, but it still allowed Southworth and others to show how much their friend meant to them and that they wanted to celebrate with them regardless of what they were all going through.
Another senior, Camille Menard, adds, “For one friend, we planned a surprise and all showed up to her house before she woke up so we could decorate her lawn with signs and desserts and sing to her. For another friend, we did a drive by parade with signs and balloons and then sat together on her lawn with six feet between all of us. I think it’s important to do this because honestly all of us seniors have lost A LOT of important stuff in our lives lately and basically all we have are our friendships and connections, so it’s important to do things with/for friends to celebrate them and the connections we have with them.” Being a senior during the worldwide pandemic has been difficult for many, but being with friends and peers in some fashion is still manageable, which is seen through Menard and others efforts to surprise her friends on their birthdays.
Kylie Pierce wanted to do something to make her friend’s day positive, “I participated in a drive-by to celebrate my friend’s eighteenth birthday during quarantine. Not being able to celebrate such an important birthday is unfortunate, so I thought that doing a drive-by would be the least I could do to help make her day more special.” Pierce was able to put a positive spin on her friends birthday, but participating in a drive-by that showed how important a birthday is, even if it is in quarantine.
Mykala O’Farrell says, “I have been a part of two birthday celebrations in quarantine. One of them was a drive by celebration where we all decorated our cars with signs and balloons and then drove by playing music and honking. The other one was an outside social distanced celebration where we held up signs that spelled out happy birthday. I think it’s important to still celebrate birthdays even when in quarantine because it is important that we focus on the happy, positive life moments during this unprecedented time by celebrating those around us!” Being creative and splitting up the job of spelling out “happy birthday” between friends allowed everyone to have a job and still be socially distant when O’Farrell and others were a part of their friends birthday.
While the typical birthday may soon happen, once the pandemic is finished, many people are still finding ways to celebrate their friends. Drive-bys, surprise visits, and socially distant lawn parties are some ways that people have managed to still celebrate in quarantine, and make their friends’ day memorable despite COVID-19.