So I just got back from my first car parade.
A dear friend’s birthday was a few days ago (Happy Birthday Syma) and Amber, another ridiculously thoughtful friend, suggested a car parade past her house to celebrate while maintaining social distancing. I hadn’t really heard about these but was excited to participate.
Well, I have to tell you that it was wonderful.
There were more than a dozen cars lined up, some had windows painted with birthday wishes and hearts and others with hand-made birthday signs in the best-kid-writing ever. There were kids popped up from sunroofs and hanging out car windows. Everyone was honking and yelling Happy Birthday and throwing kisses and big smiles.
Syma and her three adorable children were standing in the driveway in awe. Syma was crying happy tears, Zara was recording and the two younger ones, Alayna and Rayaan, were jumping up and down in excitement for all these people who loved their mom and showed up to make sure that she knew it. People in the neighborhood stepped outside to wave, join the chorus or simply take pictures.
The lineup of cars looped around twice. We were all totally present. We were all so excited to wish Syma a happy birthday. We were all so happy to see our friends — even if from a distance.
Syma sent a text that night to the group:
You guys. That was too much! I think my heart is going to explode. Miss you all terribly. Thank you for making this the best quarantine birthday any girl could wish for!!! You’re the best💜💜💜
It feels like life is so complicated right now but this reminded me that the simple things really do matter. Whether it’s an amazing car parade for someone’s birthday or a funny text we share with a friend or a hand-written note we send across the country or globe, these tiny touches mean so much.
There are many examples of people doing big important things — doctors and nurses helping the sick, scientists searching for a vaccine, teachers and students adapting to a new world of online learning, politicians working tirelessly to help their communities, front-line workers stocking our grocery stores, serving food to go, keeping our gas stations open, filling prescriptions — that we may forget about what we can do in little ways too.
It might not seem like much compared to these heroes but if you make someone smile or laugh or cry cheers of joy, doesn’t that matter too? I hope so and will try to find little ways to make our uncertain world a little bit better.