Sunday, March 29, 2020

Turning 26 under quarantine


Yesterday was our daughter's birthday. She and her boyfriend came over and we celebrated here. After much discussion, we have decided that our two households will quarantine together, which means following the same social distancing, hand washing, and no face touching rules so that we all remain healthy and don't infect one another or anyone else. So far so good, everyone seems fine. My cold from last week is gone, and I wonder if it might have been allergies, as no one else seems to have come down with it. Also, my friend with a cold who I sat beside in choir three weeks ago has now tested negative for covid. I'm thankful for that.

My husband drove to get our girl and her guy and bring them to our house, and then he drove them home at close to midnight, so they wouldn't have to deal with subways, buses, or Uber cars. The birthday was challenging at first. My daughter's friend group since elementary school, the girls we still refer to as The Six, sent her a Milkbar cake for her birthday. They had asked for a no-contact delivery, but it never did show up at her apartment door or in her lobby, despite having been marked as delivered, so she had to spend some time on the phone working that out. Apparently some other lucky person found a Milkbar birthday cake at their apartment door yesterday—if they opened their door that is. That cake could sit there for days.

Then, when my daughter and her love tried to exit their gated community, the gate they usually use wouldn't work with their key fob, so they had to walk around to a different one. They are both able bodied and would have been able to climb over the gate if they'd had to. Still, for some of their other neighbors it would definitely have been a fire hazard. Later, we tried to order dinner in, reasoning that gig workers need to keep being paid, but after two separate tries on Seamless, our food never showed up, so my girl on her birthday spent yet more time on her phone, politely texting with the restaurant and with Seamless to secure refunds. She's good at this. Finally we decided on Philly Cheese Steaks from the 24-hour corner deli for dinner, and my girl and her guy went out to get them, waving to neighbors but keeping a good social distance from other people every step of the way. They did see a dog they periodically sit for, and Emma bounded over to them and into my daughter's arms. That was a highlight. As soon as they got back into the house, they washed hands and we wiped down items that had come from the outdoors—not perfect but we do what we can.

Despite the false starts, the afternoon into evening was easy and enjoyable with the five of us. My girl's boyfriend had made her a delicious Funfetti ice cream cake, with blueberry cheesecake ice cream layers, and an angel light whipped cream icing. It was so loving of him. The evening before, he'd seen my girl starting to spin out, trying to decide what kind of cake she wanted and he told her not to worry, he'd take care of it. It's so helpful when our partners know our quirks, and step in to calm them. I loved him for it. We (as in my niece) had also made a cake so it was a two-cake affair, and we sang the traditional happy birthday song as well as the African American version, the South African version my daughter's art teacher has been singing to her and her friends since they were four year old, and the Caribbean happy birthday song. I thought I'd taped the whole joyous rendition of it, but when I checked, I'd pressed the record button wrong. We watched lighthearted animated features chosen by my girl, Frozen II and Tangled, both featuring a more empowered generation of Disney princesses. Then we watched The Great British Baking Show before calling it a night. It all felt very peaceful.

My son didn't join us of course. As a firefighter and paramedic, he is on the front lines of this epidemic every day, and would not expose us. So far, he and his fiancee seem fine, and he is rather luckier than his dad in that he lives with a partner who loves to cook. My husband is at this moment sitting in a chair behind me doing his daily Spanish lessons on Duolingo. He attended church services on Zoom at our dining table this morning, while I lay in bed and watched the latest episode of the new season of Outlander. Meanwhile our daughter is at home making a watercolor painting with the art supplies we gave her for her birthday. She's sending us photos of every stage. We haven't shopped in over a week. We're all stocked up and, yesterday notwithstanding, using what's in the house. Only six people are allowed in the supermarket at once, and everyone else waits outside, six feet apart, for their turn. This is how the lucky are living now in the big urban metropolis. We keep on.


15 comments:

  1. Oh, happy birthday to your dear girl, and happy birthing day to you! It sounds like a weird and ultimately wonderful celebration. Stay well and sane. I love you!

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  2. Happy birthday to your radiant daughter! So glad your choir mate tested negative and that you feel better. Our new reality is surreal. Much love.
    Xoxo
    Barbara

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  3. Happy birthday to your radiant daughter! So glad your choir mate tested negative and that you feel better. Our new reality is surreal. Much love.
    Xoxo
    Barbara

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  4. Happy birthday to your beautiful daughter. Really lovely how you managed to get together and celebrate. I'm so relieved that you are feeling better and that your choir mate tested negative. A big sigh of relief all around. Stay safe and well there.

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  5. Just seeing her beautiful face makes me feel calmer. What a lovely sweetheart she has! I'm glad to know that some normalcy, even within the realm of not-normal is being preserved. I love all of you in the way that we have come to love each other in this virtual world. It feels very real and I send my best wishes to all.

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  6. Happy Birthday to your daughter. Glad to hear you are all safe there. Life is a little different, but maybe it will bring families closer together. I'm certainly enjoying having my older daughter back from uni. Love the wavy candles on that cake!

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  7. I’m glad you’re feeling better. See you in your daughter’s face there you are. Love to you both and your brave son.

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  8. Today was my second daughter's birthday. She turned 47. She'll be celebrating at her house with her 16 year old twins. I made her the card I always make my children and grandchildren using photos from the past year. Wished her a happy birthday long distance and am glad we are so far all safe and well, although not able to have our crazy family celebrations right now.

    Happy birthday to your daughter! And to you!

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  9. The birthday looks wonderful, especially the cakes. I haven't had a Philly Cheese Steak in years, now I need to have one. Good luck with that in Arizona! I'm so happy you got to spend time with each other.

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  10. Belated Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughter! It makes sense to me to decide to fold together two households which are individually observing self-isolation. And this way folks go home at the end of the day and have their space as well. May you all stay safe there. Thinking special thoughts for your son.

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  11. Happy Birthday to your girl! It all sounds nice even with the mix up. I'm glad you are well.

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  12. Joy during Pandemic gives me Hope and you have a Beautiful Family. It is so hard on the Young to be missing so much of their Normal Life and Milestones. My Granddaughter misses her Posse, tho' they can keep in contact via their Phones, hanging out with Grandpa and I exclusively is probably not the Vision any 14 Year Old has of how to spend their Days, Weeks, possibly Months. I have wondered about Deliveries showing up... or not... I ordered a piece of Art from England, but it hasn't arrived yet... it's probably Madness to order Art in a Pandemic, but it feeds my Soul.

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  13. Happy belated birthday to your daughter. Sounds like one snafu after another and she rose above it. She is resilient, I'm guessing her parents had something to do with that. I think resilience is one of the best gifts a parent can give their child.

    I'm glad you're all staying in. Stay safe.

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  14. She now has a birthday story for the ages! I hope they get the gate fixed -- a fire hazard indeed. So glad you are feeling better and your friend tested negative. My daughter has been ill and hasn't been tested. She will call the doc/hospital if she has breathing problems. She has a good friend who is in her medical residency and they keep in touch regarding her symptoms. My deceased husband was a microbiologist and an MD specializing in infectious disease. I wonder what he would have to say about all of this!

    Stay safe and be well and keep enjoying those lovely young people.

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  15. playing catch up here. what a lovely couple, your daughter and her man. quarantine together. yes, when my daughter and her husband came over we also did the no touching and safe spacing.

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