A once-in-a lifetime birthday in quarantine

Alena Williams
Ellington, Connecticut
4:17 p.m. Friday, April 17

A once-in-a lifetime birthday in quarantine

I woke up not expecting much: Maybe a couple of gifts from my immediate family or a couple of posts on social media.

I knew this birthday would be a birthday like no other…simply because of the disappointing fact that I was quarantined with not much to do and with barely any places to go.

I stretched then rolled over to check my phone. To my surprise, hundreds of messages from my friends at school and from back home flooded my phone. This was accompanied by cute mini tributes to me on apps, from Instagram to Twitter to Facebook.

A smile crept across my face as a knock tapped on my door. Maybe this birthday wouldn’t be so bad after all.

“Finally, you’re awake! Happy birthday, baby!” said my mother as she came into my room and gave me a kiss on the cheek. “Go check the bonus room.”

I left my room and entered the bonus room, a common area where our family usually spends time together. A huge smile spread across my face. It looked like Christmas. There were 20 gifts — one for each year of my life. The presents ranged from books I’ve been wanting to read to new outfits.

After opening each present and thanking my mother with an enormous hug, my mother’s face formed into a smirk.

“What?” I asked her, laughing. That was when she told me the presents were just the start to my special day.

I raced downstairs to see two gigantic silver balloons shaped in the form of a “20,” three different types of cupcakes, and cards from many of my relatives.

As I jumped around in excitement, my father, who was working from home downstairs in our basement, came up to be a part of the festivities.

“Happy birthday, pumpkin,” he said. “Go shawty, it’s ya’ birthday!” We laughed together until it was time for him to go back to work. I noticed my mother had disappeared.

And that was when I heard the music from outside.

My mother greeted me in the front of the house with a camera to my face and one of her close friends by her side. She was holding flowers and a gift, just for me. I looked behind them to see many of my cousins driving past my house with signs reading, “Happy Birthday, Alena!” and music blasting from their car to enhance the experience.

After my cousins stopped riding around, they showered me with homemade cards and posters.

Although we couldn’t hug in order to abide by the Connecticut Social Distancing Rule, I felt so much love from afar.

My 20th birthday definitely didn’t go as I had originally planned it, but with the help of my family and friends, it couldn’t have been better.

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