ALL DRESSED UP WITH NO PLACE TO GO: MY DAUGHTER’S FIRST (VIRTUAL) BIRTHDAY


As it goes with the world right now, my dreams of my daughter Eilish’s perfect first birthday party, of course, came to a screeching halt. So, I found myself trying to scrape together some semblance of a celebration for her April 9th birthday.  I sent out my Zoom party details to the gang, ordered whatever decorations would arrive in time to jazz up the house a little, and put an order in for two dozen cupcakes.

The night before the big day, my husband and I stayed up late to clean the house, put her new rocking horse together, and to hang up some decorations (and by late, I mean 10:30 PM). Being a practical person, I didn’t go nuts with the decorations since you know, she’s one. If I want her to be interested in something, she will give it exactly 0% of her attention. The next morning, my sweet birthday girl woke up and as expected, gave the decorations a passing glance, and had no idea it was a special day, all about her.  

We started the day with a fun breakfast – her first pancakes with syrup – which she promptly spit out. So, the usual oatmeal and banana, it was. Then we spent the morning rocking on her horsey, blowing bubbles outside, splashing around like a crazy person with ALL the toys in the tub, and then we took her very last photo on her milestone blanket. Gah! Doing that last one gave me “all the feels”.

Throughout the day, I did a lot of looking back at photos from the day she was born, repeatedly shoving them into my husband’s face, with a, “Look how smaaaaall she was!” Watching a little human grow before your eyes is truly amazing. What’s more amazing is how much you miss each and every version of this person. I wish I could hold my tiny 7 lb. Eilish again and kiss her wrinkly old-man-face. Instead, my 1-year-old will just get extra squeezes, and will wriggle and scratch her way out of my arms whenever I attempt to cradle her as I did a year ago.

Since I wasn’t the only one doing a lot of reminiscing about our official #1 family member, we went on a social-distancing house crawl to drop off cupcakes and give a little wave to nearby family. Like all plans these days, this didn’t work out quite as I hoped. A storm rolled through, and it was super rainy and cold, so it turned into more of a, “I’m leaving cupcakes on your doorstep, see you on Zoom,” text and run situation. Eilish passed out as soon as we got in the car. So much for waves & kisses being blown!

After a super long nap, (Eilish’s gift to us), it was dinner (salmon, mashed potatoes and broccoli – her favorites), and time to get ready for the party. I put her in her party dress, put myself in an actual shirt and some makeup (kept my leggings on though), and setup the laptop. It was a pretty quick event, probably 20 minutes, of singing happy birthday and sharing a cupcake with the birthday girl. She slowly poked at it, having more fun feeding it to me than eating it herself. But the little showoff had a great time. She did all her tricks – smiled, pointed to her family, clapped and danced. And then for the big finale, she showed off her newest skill: walking. Huge hit.

I can genuinely say that our friends and family had a great time sharing those moments with us. Sure, it was hard for everyone who loves her to not get to hold her and give her birthday hugs, but it did the job. Eilish loved being the center of attention and got to see everyone’s faces. And at 1-years-old, it’s not like she knows the difference. And there will be plenty more to celebrate. So, I say, on to the next – her 1st birthday had to be tame, but her 2nd birthday can be epic.

Editor: Callan

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