Compassion and a slice of cheesecake for 21st Birthday


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She wanted was to go feed the ducks at a nearby park and watch the sunset for her 21st Birthday….

Feeding ducks at the Park in Plano, Texas

My daughter Ms. Peachy as I like to call her, celebrated her 21st Birthday this April.  Given the lockdown and everyone observing shelter in place, I asked if she wanted to invite her friends for a little socially distanced gathering – a drive-by birthday parade, a zoom party or have a few of her friends meet at the neighborhood parking lot.  I had seen this kind of creative celebration shared on social media.  A party while everyone is still respectful of the social distancing guidelines.  All her friends are home from college and attending classes online just like her.  But she quickly dismissed the idea.

I was surprised to hear that all she wanted was to go feed the ducks at a nearby park and watch the sunset…. and if dad is ok with it, some takeout from Cheesecake Factory, her favorite place.  No parties or even drink requests.  She is legal after all! Dad is careful about keeping us all safe and under lockdown.  He is the one buying the groceries and sterilizing packages.  He approved the Cheesecake request. So, we placed that to-go order and after online classes were over, we headed to the park with some break looking for ducks.

While we were having dinner, we talked about how we could do more.  More than just feeding the ducks.  We decided to donate money in her name to a couple of charities.  One of them was North Texas Food Bank who provides meals for those facing hunger including children in North Texas.  We have volunteered at this organization as a family before to help sort through donated food and box the meals. The food pantry delivers meals for seniors and provides meals to elementary school children who are on the free and reduced-price school meal program and don’t currently have access to them.   Our small donation provided 750 meals to those that need it the most. 

Someone said that all birthdays that fall during the coronavirus pandemic period don’t count and get a do-over.  But I do hope when all this is over, and our world goes back to normal she still remembers her 21st Birthday.  And the simple things of feeding ducks, a family meal and sharing a few meals with those that need it the most.

I share this not to brag. But to remind everyone… while we are hunkered down and try to stay healthy and care for the ones we love we can extend that love a little bit to help a few more.  I read that this weekend there were 2000 cars in line for food at the Food Pantry when normally they have 200 to 300.  Even if we can’t go help in person we can find ways to give from afar. Be it our time, money or even just sharing some positive vibes and hope.

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