Graphic by Ava Mobli
In high school, there are many “milestone” birthdays, but with everyone trapped inside for 2 and a half months, many of us are missing out on these special days with our friends–but this doesn’t mean you should give up on all birthday celebrations. Personally, I’ve had two friends with quarantine birthdays, and I wasn’t going to let their birthday slide past with no celebrations–so I did it my way.
Like many people bored at home, I’ve baked up a storm at my house. It’s rare when there aren’t any baked goods lining the counters. So when my friends and I started sending birthday wishes to our other friend, I wanted to do something more. In the past, when I didn’t have time to buy a birthday present, I baked them some of my notorious baked goods. I can’t go to Target right now, I thought, but I do have fresh cookies. After getting her mom’s permission to deliver birthday cookies, we drove over and delivered a paper plate full. Even though I had gone the extra distance, I was still worried that I hadn’t done enough. Later that night, I got a text saying how good the cookies were and how much her family enjoyed them, and I felt like I made a difference in how she celebrated her quarantine birthday; that was good enough.
My second friend with a quarantine birthday had hers in mid-April. That morning, starting at 12:30 A.M., our group chat started receiving messages giving birthday wishes. By that time, teachers had gotten the hang of online learning and had piled on the work, so I was too busy to make the customary birthday cookies. Then I had an idea–in my trusty recipe book, there was one for brownies that could be made into a mix that I could bring to her. I quickly whipped it all together and brought it to her house. I met her outside her apartment building, both of us clad in masks. I gave her the little gift bag with the mix, recipe and a card and we sat and talked for a minute–while keeping a responsible distance between us, of course. It wasn’t much, but I know that something as small as receiving a gift bag, card, and a little human interaction made just the difference I was going for to make her quarantine birthday a little special.