HR Bright Spot: The Bright Side of Birthdays During Quarantine
From Abigail Furey
One of the (many) challenges parents have faced during our time at home is how to appropriately celebrate childrens’ birthdays without family, friends, bounce houses, pizzas, cupcakes, and fanfair. This is admittedly a fortunate predicament to be in, but for parents, our childrens’ happiness has a new meaning in quarantine. Early on, there were news reports of friends “parading” by a birthday child’s home, honking and holding signs to show that person they are remembered and celebrated.
In Holliston, two parents put their organizing and community outreach skills to great use by starting the Holliston Birthday Parades Facebook page. On this page, any Holliston resident can set up a birthday parade for their loved one. Vicki Riggs and Meaghan Alexis volunteer their time to coordinate the parades, setting times, routes, and rallying Hollistonians to parade by. Perhaps you have seen one in your own neighborhood and smiled at the rolling party!
Vicki told me that two of her sons had birthdays during this stay at home period and she wanted to find a way to make them and others feel extra special and connected on their big day. The idea of a birthday parade appealed to Vicki because it was fun and easy to coordinate, and also added a level of connectedness, while remaining safe. She has loved seeing the parades in the community, enjoyed by both the birthday children, as well as the paraders. She said, “During a time when we all must stay apart, this has become a way for us to feel like we are still together.”
Believe it or not, Vicki and Meaghan have never officially met! Meaghan said, “ It’s one of the greatest things that has come of all this – it’s brought neighbors together who may have not otherwise met. There are friendships forming because of this group, because of these parades, and I’m very thankful to be a part of that.” I can attest first hand that whether you know the birthday girl or boy personally or not, participating in these parades is a very moving and bonding experience.
As of this writing, over 70 birthday parades have been planned! Birthday celebrations have included birthday boys and girls age 3 to 85!
If you are interested in scheduling a birthday parade, look for the Facebook page or reach out to Vicki or Meaghan. Thanks to them for ensuring Holliston Birthday Parades are another Bright Spot for us while we’re remaining home to stay safe.
I reached out to the page to find some stories from the parades. I am so glad I did! I wanted to highlight a couple photos and stories:
Fifth grade Holliston teacher Kerry Perpall has organized a Birthday Parade for each of her students since school closed in March!
Ten-year-old Jack Donohue has attended many parades with his trumpet, serenading the birthday child with “Happy Birthday” out of his mother’s car! It is an amazing sight! Six-year-old brother Keane is in the spirit too!
Ella Bennet turned 8 and her brother Warren turned 3 in April. They both had parades that made their birthdays a real joy.
Magdalena Albornoz shared that her mother came to visit from Columbia for 2 weeks in mid-March and has ended up “stuck” here in Holliston. She had a beautiful birthday parade for her 77th birthday in April in a place where she only knows her daughter and grandchildren. It made her very happy.
Twins Aaria and Aarin Prajapati, 11, asked to collect food for the Holliston Food Pantry as part of their parade. They each made a video and posted it to their 5th Grade Google Classrooms.
The smile on Caitlyn Mehigan’s face says it all!