It was the hardest conversation I have ever had with my child. I couldn't do it without tears. Honestly, I couldn't do it at all. I made his dad do it. My sweet 4 year old, would not be having the bowling birthday party we had planned. His birthday dinner at Osaka had also been cancelled. Birthdays are just one more thing COVID-19 has stolen from us.
This year, his party was going to be different. This year, his party wasn't going to be in my home (hallelujah, hallelujah). Instead of spending weeks working on a theme, ordering off Etsy, spending too much money at the grocery store, we were going to go bowling. The bowling alley was going to plan the party for me. I just needed to show up (with credit card in hand). No added stress, no clean up, just time with family and friends.
When we first discussed not going bowling, my husband thought about having people over to our house. Ugh. I was in no way prepared for that. I had zip, ziltch, nada. Leave it to my husband to throw a last minute birthday party on my lap. That's right. MY LAP. He may make the grocery store run, clean the bathrooms, and pick up balloons, but it would be I who got stuck with everything else. Luckily, didn't last long. My husband's fear of the virus lead him to not want anyone in our house, "God Forbid."
"God forbid," has become my husband's catchphrase when it comes to us making any kind of decisions about leaving the house with the children or having people over. But that is the world we are currently living in. COVID-19 has us living in what feels like an alternative reality. At times an apocalyptic alternative reality. The virus has changed are every day lives in so many ways, the full impact has not been felt, but it is only a matter of time.
So back to that conversation with the future five year old. We told him we could no longer go bowling. We told him he wouldn't be able to see his friends on his birthday. We told him we couldn't go to the "Happy Birthday" restaurant and wear the mask as people sang to him. The fun was on hold until it was safe.
Here is what we did tell him. We told him as a family we would make cupcakes with sprinkles. We'd go bowling in our kitchen. As a special treat, he could play Wii bowling. An idea that really peaked his interest. If possible, my husband was going to pick up the traditional birthday dinner from Osaka (though without the hibachi show, I'm not sure our kid cares) We told him he could pick any superhero mask from his collection and we would sing to him. We're not sure he really understood, or maybe I just thought it was a bigger deal then he did, but he seemed to go along with the new plan. Even seemed excited. He told us he can't wait. He gave us both hugs and said he loved us. You're pure of heart kid. I hope you always stay that way.
William's 3rd Birthday at Osaka.
William's 4th Birthday at Osaka
On a personal note: This is the first year my mom will not be here to celebrate. She was there the day he was born and has been to every party ever since. My godmother who has also has been a big part of party planning and cake decorating can't come either.