Sometimes life surprises me, and what I thought would be a bummer, ends up being the BEST birthday ever! Ian turned fourteen on April 18th and, like any parent, I wanted to make sure it was special. However, being in a pandemic changes everything.
As per usual, I purchased the gifts, planned the meal (ok, we ordered Dominos), and bought 14 balloons to attach to a special birthday sign that has donned the front yard each year since he turned one.
All of this was great, but what about the party Ian and Chad always plan? The last few years, Ian has requested a “Dads and Dudes” party at a bar and grill in downtown Hudson. In other words, NO GIRLS ALLOWED! I must admit, I love the few hours to myself when they excitedly head off to the coveted event.
Knowing Ian’s special tradition cannot happen with social distancing in place, I wonder, how do I bring the party to Ian? While flipping through Facebook, I notice people having “drive-by birthday parades.” Instantly I loved this concept, so I hopped on social media to ask our family and friends to help us celebrate.
On that birthday Saturday morning, Chad, Grace and I lured Ian outside to race his remote cars up and down the driveway. We lucked out, with blue skies and sunshine. Ian had no idea what was about to happen. I already felt so blessed.
One by one, cars began to drive by. Families were yelling out of windows, honking horns like crazy, and handing colorful signs to Ian. I was already tearing up. Our neighbors next door were outside at the time, and the mom reached out to us with a special idea. She asked if we wanted her to use her connections to call the Hudson Police and invite them to join in the parade. I was touched by this act of kindness.
About ten minutes later, five police cars came blazing down the street one after the other. It turned out Ian knows Officer Wildman from middle school, so when he pulled up and got out, Ian was thrilled!
Just when we thought the party couldn’t get any better, a friend of mine (whose son is Ian’s aide) saw my plea and went above and beyond. She posted the birthday request on her Facebook page and solicited most of the Hudson Hockey team to participate.
The next thing we know, a long line of vehicles was headed our way. Everyone handed gifts out of car windows, and the sound of revving sports cars and, “Happy Birthday Ian!” filled the air. A surprise lunch of Jimmy John’s was even delivered. The front yard was now covered with batches of colorful balloons and posters that later filled Ian’s bedroom with life.
This celebration would not be complete without a visit from his special education teacher, a lick from Henry (our good friend’s dog), and a parade float with live music and long-time friends singing Ian’s favorite song.
What happened that day took my breath away!
Saying ‘thank you’ does not even come close to truly conveying my gratitude.
I can imagine Ian next year, sitting on the driveway on April 18th and asking, “when does my parade start?”
As a mom who spends her days with this challenging boy, knowing that there are so many people out there who love and care about Ian, fills my heart with hope, light and love. I am reminded once again that I am NOT alone.
What are your SILVER LININGS? Any special celebrations that have made this difficult time a little brighter? I would love to have you share them with us!
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