Isaiah celebrated his second pandemic birthday on Monday. He’s eleven. Last year it seemed sort of exciting and special, to celebrate a birthday during Covid. We made a video of friends and family near and far wishing him a happy birthday, he fielded several Facetime calls, and friends drove by with a birthday banner. This year it was different. Last year’s birthday buzzed with a kind of other-worldly weirdness, a once-in-your-lifetime kind of vibe, but this year the birthday sort of sagged around itself, deflated and tired.
That sounds depressing. It really wasn’t. We had a lovely day. We did. There was breakfast in bed and a sunny day spent skateboarding and thrift shopping and eating apple crisp. But there weren’t friends. And there wasn’t a party. And I couldn’t even get the horse stables nearby to call me back about a potential birthday ride (his most fervent wish). I guess what I’m saying is we’re over it. We’re feeling the lag and lassitude of a year in quarantine. We’re ready to reconnect with folks (yes, even me — sorta), and have just a few more options for celebrating a birthday. We’re not asking for much. We’re all introverts after all — all four of us. But even introverts have their limits and we’re getting funky up in here. There’s only so much navel-gazing we can do, I guess. For now, I’m going through these photos our friend, Tünde, took for us when we were down in the Gorge last month. Quarantine or no, this kid is the most jolly, curious, awe-filled and friendly 11-year-old a pandemic-weary parent could ask for.