QuaranTEEN’s 17th Birthday 

Commentary By J1 Reporter Sophia Simmons 

Although big birthday celebrations are cancelled this spring with COVID-19, that does not mean celebrating another year of life is. On April 19, I turned 17 years old. Leading up to then I was not looking forward to a quarantined and boring birthday. However, I was proved wrong. Although I may have not gone to my favorite restaurant to eat or had a huge party, I had what is most important to me, my family. 

My day began with a birthday-present scavenger hunt, courtesy of my little brother. He printed out clues on each present leading to find the next one. I was more thankful in his efforts to make my day fun than the gifts. It was a beautiful day out, so my dad and I went on a long walk, we enjoyed the outdoors, and time together. My dad’s birthday is the day after mine, so we have always shared the celebration together, which I love. 

simmons cake
My yummy birthday cake made by Omaha Bakery. 

Within a few minutes of getting home from the walk, my friends surprised me with a birthday car parade. Although I could not physically celebrate with them, I was so thankful they took the time to come and wish me a happy birthday in person, at a distance of course.  It was so nice  to see all of the people I miss so much. The night was full of many games, dinner from Pitch Pizzeria, cake, and sitting by the fire pit. 

I was then surprised with my favorite gift. My friend made a video of all my friends, neighbors, and cousins wishing me a happy birthday. The video was filled with pictures of our memories together. The feeling of being loved and surrounded by so many great people brought me to tears. Technology has truly blessed us all during this time by allowing us to stay connected. I am so thankful for another year of this wonderful life I have received. This birthday has taught me life’s greatest gift is the relationships we have. 

If your friend has a birthday during quarantine try to make them feel appreciated through a nice text or driving by their house, at a distance, to make them feel loved. If you cannot see them in person, do a group Zoom with all your friends to wish them a happy birthday! A video montage or a slideshow of all your memories will help them reflect on all of the fun times you have had together. Memories with friends are priceless! 

simmons bdaysign
This is a sign my friends made me for the car parade!

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