With everything going on right now, birthday parties seem trivial. But he doesn’t understand protests, riots or social justice. All he really understands is coronavirus germs are bad and a curfew means you must be home by that time or else. And even if he did understand more, it wouldn’t change the fact that in the world of a 5 year old, a birthday is a big deal. A really big deal.
For the last three years, we’ve had a pretty incredible birthday party tradition. Though his birthday is in June, we start planning in December (sometimes sooner!). Nugget picks a theme and then we spend the next few months planning, dreaming and scheming. We take that big deal of a birthday and make it even bigger. He knows this. He expects it.
Big Birthday Plans
Last year was a Lego party. The year before that was Beach Boys Surfin’ Safari. The year before that was Curious George, Thomas, Lightning McQueen and Dusty Crophopper. This year was supposed to be How to Train Your Dragon, Pokemon and Ninjago. Yes, it’s a crazy mashup, but when it’s your birthday, you don’t have to make sense!
I was going to have Pikachu headbands and yarn Pokeballs so everyone could be a Pokemon trainer and ‘catch’ their friends. Easter eggs painted red and white with Pokemon inside so kids could find Pokemon in the tall grass. Foam Ninja swords so the kids could train with Master Wu in the Ninjago training center. Plaster brick people so kids could design and paint their own Lego ninjas. Sheep toss game for the dragon racers to run and compete. Sacks that were going to be painted like dragons so they could “ride” their dragons in the dragon race.
This was going to be the best one yet. Totally overboard and almost completely DIY. Then Coronavirus and COVID-19 hit.
Socially Distant Birthday
Change is hard. Change is always hard. And when that change is disappointment layered on disappointment, it’s really, really hard.
Corona took away the second half of Kindergarten, field trips and kindergarten graduation. It took away visits with family, trips to the zoo and playtime with friends. And now, Corona is coming for our birthday party tradition.
We are very VERY fortunate that curbing our social activities is the worst impact we’ve had from coronvirus. Thankfully, we do not directly know anyone who has had a confirmed COVID case or been hospitalized (knock on wood).
We are fortunate that this is the big disappointment and not something far worse. But it still sucks. And while yes, things are opening back up, I just don’t feel that having multiple families and a dozen kids running around is the responsible choice.
You know what though? We are going to make the best of it. I talked with the little guy and he’s agreed that we will just have a small party with our super extra special close friends. When I suggested this new party idea he took it like a champ. No complaints about who wouldn’t be coming. No “but it’s not fair” or anything of that nature. He’s just excited at the idea of spending his birthday with his two very best friends.
Once again, he’s blown me away. My heart might be aching for him knowing the things he’s missing right now, but he is still so full of happiness and sunshine. He’s not even phased by it. So while this year’s birthday blowout might not be the biggest, it might still be one of the best.
Send a Picture
Since all of our friends can’t join us, we’d love for you to join in the party in a different way. Draw a birthday cake or download a cupcake, print it out and color it or decorate it on your phone. When you are done, send in a picture of your special birthday treat. I’ll save all the images into a special birthday album and share them with Nugget on his birthday.
Click a picture to make it larger and download a copy.
We’d rather share our cupcakes with you in person, but this is the next best thing!
Nugget’s Birthday Request
For his birthday, Nugget did have one request. He wants to buy a brick at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens with his name on it. He has seen these bricks lining the pathways at the zoo and he wants one that says his name and “Future Animal Scientist” and “Okapis are the best.” Well, after seeing the Wild Things bench, he wanted a bench with his name on it, but we discussed the donation amount for a bench ($5000) vs a brick($200) and we’ve agreed on the brick. He’s saving up some of his money from chores but could use a little help.
If you would be willing to help him reach his Zoo Brick goal for his birthday this year, you can give a gift for his Zoo Brick fund here:
I’ll be sure to share updates on his progress towards his goal as often as I can. If we don’t raise enough for a brick, we will still give 100% of the money raised to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.