Happy 17th Birthday – COVID-19 Style

I know this is not the birthday you envisioned. But we are here to celebrate you and all your awesomeness as best we can. And you are awesome. That is a proven fact. I’ve had plenty of time to verify it since we’ve been forced to be together 24/7 for the last few weeks. Many teenagers would barricade themselves in their rooms, only to leave to eat or use the bathroom (and even then maybe not), but not you. Throughout these weeks, you’ve willingly played games with us, binged watched terrible reality shows with us (Yes, we are among the Love is Blind viewers), and filled our bellies with everything from pies and cookies and brownies to homemade bread. Yes, the COVID-19 15 lb weight gain is real, especially with a baker like you in our house.

As sucky as this shelter-in-place has been, I can honestly say I’ve truly enjoyed spending time with you. We’re now forced to eat dinner together EVERY SINGLE NIGHT without the interruptions of soccer practice, swim practice, or other activities. And get this, most nights there’s much more laughing than yelling at the kitchen table. I’d love to be able to box up these moments and put them into a time capsule so we can all look back at them decades from now, but I guess this blog will have to do.

Even before this “new normal” set in, I’ve known you’re a good human. Teenagers often get a bad rap for their actions and inactions, and I too am guilty of adding to that chorus of complaints. But I always come back to the baseline of who you are as a person. You are good and kind and compassionate. You have a deep sense of who you are and you embrace it– almost always with a smile on your face and a one-of-a-kind laugh that involves your entire body. Anyone who knows you, knows exactly what I’m talking about. I’d love to be able to say I had everything to do with you turning out so well, but that wouldn’t be true. You find causes that you believe in and you jump in with both feet, hands, fingers and toes, even if you really have no time to do it! I never would have imagined you’d embrace your Jewish identity and be so involved with USY, but it’s a great example of you finding ways to surprise me. It’s a good surprise though!

I know these last several weeks have been a hard adjustment for you. You are someone who likes to have something scheduled just about every minute of every day, and now life is anything but structured. From classes and homework, to work, to SAT tutoring, to USY, to babysitting, and on and on and on, we hardly ever saw you over the last few months! You’d fly in for a few moments before heading out the door again. The only positive (besides hanging with me) is you don’t have to set your alarm for 6:15 am to make your zero period at school.

I don’t have to tell you this is going to be a pivotal year for you, but just like everything else you do, you’ve been approaching it with tenacity and grit. I think back to over the summer when you worked to get your driver’s license. While you faced setbacks (code for not passing on the first try), you didn’t give up. You wouldn’t even wait to get home before logging onto the California DMV website looking for new dates to take the test again. You did get that license, and found a new sense of freedom in the form of 4-wheels and a set of keys.

One thing the COVID-19 quarantine has allowed me to do is appreciate all that we have. It’s easy to look at what we don’t have, and since I’m a half-glass full kind of a gal, I’m so appreciative of you, and your sisters and dad too, but since this is your birthday blog, not theirs, you get the shout out.

Happy 17th Birthday! Next year I’ve got plans to celebrate with a huge blowout party.

I love you so very much, kiddo.


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