The Diary of Dr. Sharon McDonnell

Aged 53 and 3/4

Dear Diary

12th April, 2020

I was born in 1960 and part of the ‘baby boomer’ generation.  Fast forward to the 11th April, 2020 and this ‘baby boomer’ is celebrating her 60th birthday!

If I’m honest, during the months leading to my birthday, I wasn’t looking forward to or even wanted to celebrate it.  Not really sure why, but one thing I did know, that I was going to ‘body swerve’ any reference to it, in the hope that it might just pass me by, with little fuss and attention.

Absolutely no chance!  My family were scheming and plotting months beforehand.  My sisters had also booked a flight to take me away etc. and then BOOM – everything turns upside down:  Covid 19, lockdown, social isolation, no physical contact with family; a dark thread of fear running through our communities; all trying to keep safe and worrying about our loved ones.  All of us desperately wanting this time to pass and return to normal.

My flights to go away with my sisters were cancelled, no spending time with my family on my birthday.  Now I know, I didn’t want to celebrate my birthday, but it didn’t mean I didn’t want to see my family!

My children phoned me first thing to wish me happy birthday.  Then at 10.30am, my daughter phoned and informed me that she was at the bottom of the lane with my birthday card.  Unbeknown to me this was to get me out of the house.  I honestly don’t know how Paul kept it from me.  I ran out of the back gate, to a make-shift washing line across to fence posts, with A4 pieces of paper with photo’s and messages from people that I love.  Birthday cards were also pegged on it.  My children stood at the recommended 2 metres distance, beaming.  I couldn’t take it all in.  Beautiful messages and those I care about outside my house keeping their distance.  Then unexpectedly (but arranged by my children) all my neighbours about 20 houses, all stood at their front door and sang happy birthday.  I was simultaneously happy and sad.  Happy at the effort that had been made.  Sad that I had to keep my distance from everyone.  Within 20 minutes it was all over, my children had gone and arranged to have virtual birthday party, later in the day, on zoom – never done this before – all a bit weird, but just went with it!

My next surprise, I join ‘Zoom’ to a revised rendition of (George Ezra song ‘Shot gun’) which was adapted to ‘Shazza’s in Lockdown!’  Each member of my family and friends, were allocated a few lines to sing on their mobile, using the adapted words (including my mum aged 84).  This was then merged together as a video (joys of technology).  I have to say my family are not singers and would have felt very shy doing this.  Make no mistake, this was the ultimate act of love, and I really appreciated it!  It was then I cried tears of happiness.  I felt so loved and so special.  My family had been creative, thought out of the box and pitched it just right.  No posh party, venue or food.  Just a personalised washing line with lovely messages pegged on it and a song sung to me by the people I care about.  This was my best party ever and so happy I had one.

Moral of this post:  Age doesn’t matter, family does.  Technology is bringing us together and make the most of what we have during this difficult and challenging time.