During the months of March and April, my mother, my siblings, and I all celebrate our birthdays. Although I had expected to be in Madrid for all of them, I got back home the day after my mother’s birthday and was able to cut a cake at home with her to celebrate it. My sister put a candle at the center, and using a paper plate, my mom fanned out her candle. It was the highlight of the night. The next birthday was that of my sister, on the last day of March. My family understands that we cannot all be together—despite our love for huge gatherings—because of the danger of potentially spreading the virus to one another. Therefore, my cousin, who lives with my older sister, organized a FaceTime call with the whole family on there to sing to my sister. There were about twenty of us, and on my cousin’s cue, we all sang to my sister as she entered her 28th year.
The next birthday was mine, less than two weeks after my sister. My brother has been staying with my mother and me to help run the necessary errands so that my mom can avoid going outside as much. When the clock hit midnight, he and my mom sang happy birthday to me. He poured me a glass and stuck a candle on a piece of some cake we had in the house so that I had the chance to make my birthday wish. We spent the night binge-watching our current series of choice—Chicago P. D. The last birthday is my brother’s, only 12 days after mine. My mother and I sang to him at midnight, and we all sat in the living room together eating farina.
A few hours later, my mother made some churrasco that my brother had purchased specifically for this occasion. She also made some rice—moro de guandules. When the stove was free, I began preparing some baked mac and cheese, and my brother headed out to pick up my sister. She and her boyfriend had been social distancing for a few weeks and were glad to get out the house and be able to see us all again. My sister baked her famous brownies, and we all sat around the living room completely stuffing our faces. My brother and I refer to my sister and her boyfriend as “the fun couple,” and they proved why when they came bearing board games. We played “What Do You Meme?” for the first time and were bent over from laughter. Then, to close the night off, we played Bingo in honor of my aunt who loved the game since her passing anniversary was fast approaching.
I am grateful to be a year older and to have my family find ways to make our usual chaotic celebrations still happen, even if they must be modified. My birthday was originally supposed to be during spring break, and I had planned to go to Santorini. However, I am grateful that my friends and family are safe and were able to go out of their ways to make me feel special regardless of location.
Nicole Richards (Nico), student blogger primavera 2020