Have Twins, Will Travel

Pandemic Birthday Bike Parade

Somerville, Mass – The twins are turning 10 and here we are in the middle of a global pandemic. I know I am not the first parent to confront this dilemma. But I *might* be the first parent to come up with this solution: a pandemic birthday bike parade.

Of course, drive-by parties have become a thing during the pandemic. No offense to anybody who has done this, but I knew this was not going to fly with the twins. Sit there on the porch and watch your friends drive by? And then what?

But what about the reverse? What if we are the ones going from house to house? Then at least the birthday boys get to go somewhere and we have something to do.

With the decrease in traffic, the twins have been riding their bikes around the neighborhood a LOT. So then I had the brainstorm to do our birthday tour by bicycle. And maybe we could even get some of their friends to ride along with us, like a traveling party. Or a parade. And so the pandemic birthday bike parade was born.

I sent this invitation out to a bunch of friends in the neighborhood:

“Help us celebrate DOUBLE DIGITS by making your house a stop on our birthday bike parade. Here are some ideas for ways you might participate:

  • Make a card and leave it in your mailbox for us to pick up
  • Make a sign or decorate your porch and cheer when we ride by
  • Come out and play Happy Birthday on your instrument of choice
  • Hide a treat in your front yard and leave a clue where to find it
  • Serenade the birthday boys from your window
  • Blast music for a 5-minute dance party in your front yard
  • Decorate your own bike and join our parade for a block or two

No gifts please! We will be traveling by bike!”

I tried to make this a surprise for the twins, but that did not last long, as they figured out what I had in mind. I also tried to get them to decorate their bikes, but they were not really into that idea. But they were into the idea of riding around the neighborhood to visit their friends. So off we went, following a route that I mapped out, leading past nine or ten houses. Most friends were waiting on their porch with a poster or cupcakes or candy (or all of the above). Some sent their birthday wishes in other ways….

One friend left a bin of nerf guns in his driveway and then staked out the front yard (with his father). So when we arrived at the house and the twins (and friends) curiously approached the bin, they were bombarded with nerf bullets, thus beginning an all-out nerf war.

Nerf war on the pandemic birthday bicycle parade
Nerf war on the pandemic birthday bike parade

The best part about the pandemic birthday bike parade was that a bunch of kids hopped on their bicycles and joined in for at least part of the route. Not sure if this was ideal from a Covid standpoint. (Hey, we were all on bikes, so we must have been at least six feet apart, right?) It was also totally nerve-wracking as the parent who was overseeing this operation. (A half a dozen kids riding bikes through city streets? Sure, we got this.)

But we really were a traveling party. And some of these kids had barely seen any other friends in two months. Under those circumstances, who wouldn’t want a traveling party to show up at their house?

We made it home in time for cake a presents–just the four of us–and the twins made out like bandits (as usual). They agreed that their pandemic birthday was a blast.

And by the way? Easiest. Birthday. Party. Ever.

The Day After

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