“Daddy, don’t forget to pick up some cupcakes at the store, okay?”
My husband, who was heading out the door to run his usual Saturday morning errands, turned to look questioningly at our 9-year-old daughter. “What are the cupcakes for?”
“For Pip’s birthday party!”
“Wait…sorry…um…. Who is Pip?”
“You know,” she said, undaunted. “Pip is my little china dog figure.”
My poor husband: You could almost see him thinking, this is not what I signed up for, as he spluttered, “Your china dog…? NO. I’m not going to get cupcakes for a china…. Oh, okay, fine.”
My husband wasn’t aware of It, but Pip’s birthday had been in the planning stages for nearly a week. My daughter had chosen a date, made posters to invite her sisters, and designed teeny-tiny little invitations for the other animal figures in our house. While my husband was at the store buying cupcakes, my daughters made a little “Happy Birthday” banner for Pip, blew up some balloons, and created an animal-figure-sized dance floor.
Later that afternoon, my daughters celebrated Pip the china dog’s birthday with store-bought cupcakes.
We are approaching the one-year anniversary of the moment when the COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives. This was a year none of us expected to have, nor was the experience uniform: Restrictions were added, lifted, and added again. Some suffered horrific loss, others were inconvenienced. Fear, frustration, and hope danced crazily through our emotional landscapes.
As I look back over the past year – still at close range — it struck me that if someone in the future were to ask me how our family spent the pandemic, one of my first responses would be: “We celebrated more.”