Sunday was both Mother’s Day and my father-in-law’s 96th birthday. While the quarantine makes all things more complicated, we did what we could to have a proper celebration.

We are 450 miles away from Tom’s dad, so our part in the birthday celebration was limited; however, Tom’s sister Deb did what she could. Though Tom’s dad is in an interior room at the assisted living facility where he now lives, on a courtyard unaccessible on the outside to visitors, he’s been able to get to a window where the family can see him – Deb, their other sister Jane, the local grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

It has been really hard on everyone not to be able to really visit him, but I have to say Georgian Manor can boast that not a single resident or a member of the staff has fallen victim to COVID-19, so they must be doing something right.

Anyway, Deb arranged for some of Dad’s friends from the fire department to do a drive-by with a fire truck on Saturday. Much to everyone’s surprise, a procession of fire trucks from more than one local department, along with rescue vehicles and the like, came to wish my father-in-law a happy birthday.

The description reminded me of what the local schools have done to show our kids how much they are missed and loved. I was able to witness the parade of teachers from granddaughter Payton’s school, and it was a sight to behold. I believe virtually the entire faculty and administration drove by homes of the whole population of the school, blowing horns, waving and such. It was great fun and a real reminder to the kids that they have not been forgotten.

I think that’s how Tom’s dad felt. And I’ll confess the thought of all those firefighters reminding him that he is still on their minds and in their hearts brought happy tears to my eyes. I guess news outlets are looking for such fun stories, because one of the TV stations in the Norfolk area arrived to film the procession and put it on the evening news. In addition, the birthday boy was able to come outside and see everyone who came by. The especially good news about that is both of Tom’s sisters, Deb and Jane, were able to see their dad in person for the first time in several weeks.

Then on Sunday, the folks at Georgian Manor, where Tom’s dad lives, not only celebrated Mother’s Day, but they also had their own birthday party for our favorite nonagenarian.

So even though the South Carolina Britts can’t join the festivities right now, we could talk to him and hear the joy in his voice over the surprise parties held in his honor.

Now I long for the day when we can get together in person.

Mother’s Day required a bit of creativity, as well. Under normal circumstances, everyone – all three of my children and all seven of my grandchildren – would have come together for dinner at our house on Sunday. Also, under normal circumstances I would have had gifts at my house for both of my daughters and my daughter-in-law. But these are not normal circumstances, are they? So for once, I took advantage of Amazon’s delivery service and sent a little something to each of those moms in my life. Of course, Joy had a moment of confusion because when the gift arrived, I had inadvertently signed the card “Love, Mom and Dad” – but my daughter-in-law doesn’t call us that. We are either Tom and Phyllis or Opa and YaYa. I got a text from her with a picture of the gift and card, saying, “My parents didn’t send this ... Did you?” Why yes, I did.

Son Mac stopped by with the kids to wish me a happy Mother’s Day, maintaining appropriate social distancing, of course.

Liz is in Greenville, so she couldn’t be here for Mother’s Day. The good news for me is that Liz is a whiz at doing Instagram posts, and the Bartges are regular “visitors” to our house via FaceTime, so I get to follow her and her family pretty much daily. It’s not as good as being there, but she posts lots of videos of their day-to-day lives so I can keep up with what’s going on in them.

Happily for me, we have spent so much time with daughter Cat and her family, that they felt safe to come over Saturday to get ready for Mother’s Day. Payton helped Tom make my favorite dessert, créme brûlée. Then they all came over for dinner on Sunday.

As you can see, we continue to do our best to make lemonade from lemons at the Britt household. I hope you are able to do the same.