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Social distancing parties take creative reimagining

Quaranteen birthday

Ainsleigh Briggs of Marble Falls celebrated her 13th birthday under COVID-19 stay-at-home orders with two cakes, one commemorating the historic occasion with the words ‘Happy Birthday Quaranteen 2020.’ Photo bombing the cake picture is her 17-year-old brother, Braeden. Courtesy photo

Grandma and Grandpa wore masks and sat in the front yard. One of two birthday cakes read “Happy Birthday Quaranteen 2020.” Friends sent letters, cards, and photos in lieu of a birthday party for Ainsleigh Briggs, who turned 13 on April 5 during a pandemic.

No one was under quarantine, but everyone adhered to Burnet County’s stay-at-home orders while celebrating a major rite of passage in a young girl’s life.

“I wanted to have a 13-year-old’s version of a quinceañera,” said Ainsleigh’s mother, Mandi Briggs, referring to the traditional birthday blowout for 15-year-old girls popular in the Hispanic culture. “But, we didn’t have a whole lot of choice.”

Grandparents Brenda and Griff Morris were not the only people to drop by on the big day. Other family members and friends left presents and balloons on the front porch. The Marble Falls Middle School seventh-grader also received a stack of email messages her mother printed out and had ready for the family’s sit-down meal: takeout from Vespaio, an Austin hotspot on South Congress owned by one of her aunts.

“It was fun, even though we didn’t get to go out,” Ainsleigh said. “My favorite thing was that we got to do something. We didn’t just sit around. I thought we were just going to watch a movie and eat dinner.”

Ainsleigh said she really enjoyed the notes and cards, shuffling through them to find her favorite.

“It’s from my mom’s friend, Mallory Few,” she said. “She wrote that she was proud of me and my accomplishments over the years and that she would always be here for me. She’s my biggest cheerleader.”

Mom’s not so bad in that respect either, it appears.