I had it all planned, set, and ready. I ordered invitations, decorations, a cake and cookies in advance.
I excitedly mailed the invitations out before the stay-at-home order was issued – complete with stamps that coordinated with the invitations inside.
“Sweet One” strawberry themed.
I have a door hanger, a tablecloth, a garden flag, pom-poms, garland, cake toppers, artificial strawberry stems to be placed in flower arrangements, balloons. All things required for an over-the-top first birthday. All things that won’t be used for her first birthday.
Her party was planned for the May 16th. As it’s played out, that’s just one day after the stay-at-home order is lifted. It just feels too soon to have multiple people within close proximity inside of our house. And to be completely honest, it feels too soon to add the weight of a big party to my (strawberry printed) plate after all that’s been going on in the world.
When my husband and I decided that it seemed like the right thing to do to cancel her party, I felt as though COVID stole her first birthday.
A stolen birthday.
Stolen plans. Stolen ideas. Stolen excitement. Stolen memories.
But in the wise words of Eminem: “Snap back to reality…”
COVID has stolen something from all of us. We aren’t exempt and we aren’t personally, individually victimized. We aren’t alone. How many of us have altered plans or celebrations during this quarantine? And as a mom, it’s our blessing and our burden to make sure they’re just as memorable (if not more) than they would have been if our original plans would have materialized.
What COVID has not and cannot steal?
•The quiet moments rocking her the few days before she turns one
•The moment we sing “Happy Birthday,” regardless of a candle being on an elaborate cake or a gas station powdered donut
•The joy she’s brought to our family
•Remembering the moment she came into this world
•All of her years and birthdays that are to come
COVID can steal the material things. It can steal large gatherings. It can take away the frivolity, the pizzaz, the big shebang.
It cannot steal our family time or the things that truly count. It can’t. I won’t allow it.
To the other moms who have changed plans, mourned plans that didn’t happen like you’d hoped – you bring joy, happiness, and excitement to your family. Just as much joy and happiness as they give you.
And that is something that no one – that nothing – can take away.
In sickness or in health.
To you, Lafayette / Louisiana / wherever-you-are Mom –
And to my baby girl,
Happy (un-stolen) 1st birthday. A truly, genuinely “sweet one.”