Celebrating apart, yet together
While March felt like it lasted a year, April passed in what seemed like a matter of seconds. Maybe that’s because I left my house only twice the whole month.
The first time was April 24, when one of my younger sister’s best friends was celebrating her 17th birthday. While it wasn’t the day she had hoped for, Lauren Belous of Dix Hills couldn’t believe the amount of love she received in the midst of this pandemic.
My sister and I were in one of 18 cars that pulled around Lauren’s court– honking, holding up signs and singing happy birthday.
“It was the best way to celebrate given these conditions,” said Lauren.
While in the car, I watched about 20 high school juniors be as happy as I’ve seen anyone in weeks. Of course they were staying distanced at about 6 feet and also wearing masks, but the girls were making TikToks together, smiling and enjoying their time outside of their houses.
Four days later was Remi Sisselman’s 17th birthday, and my sister and I did another drive-by to make her day as special as possible. At around 3 p.m., we pulled around to Remi’s street with a long line of cars and honked until she came outside.
“I was so surprised,” said Remi. “I honestly didn’t even know I had that many friends.”
We sat in our cars 6 feet apart for about 30 minutes, hanging out and celebrating Remi’s birthday in what has become the new normal. Drive-by birthday parties are the new fad in Dix Hills, as it’s the only simple yet safe way to be there for one another.
My sister Tami, who has a birthday at the end of May, said she hopes to celebrate with the ones that she loves whether it be at a distance or not. She and her friends have already had to cope with postponed SATs/ACTs, online school and a canceled junior prom. Thankfully, they should be returning to high school in the fall under normal conditions to live out the senior year they’ve been waiting for.
“Not being able to see my friends made seeing them from a distance on their birthdays even more special,” said Tami.
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