This time of the year always hits hard and it’s normally when I’m homesick the most.

Feb. 27 kicks off what I like to call “the season of birthdays.”

My grandma’s (mom’s mom) birthday was Feb. 27, my best friend’s (Nicole) birthday on March 4, my grandparents (dad’s parents) on March 10 and 11, my brother’s (Tyler) on March 18 and my mom’s on March 30. After that, my birthday is May 19, Nate’s is Oct. 4 and my dad’s is Dec. 9.

In a normal year, I would take a Saturday and go shopping for everyone. This year, that was accomplished online because the malls feel more crowded than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anyways, I normally do something Disney related for Nicole as her favorite movie is Peter Pan, we went to Disney World for spring break our sophomore year and we have watched more Disney movies together than I can count.

This year, I got my grandma a blanket with photos from the past year and my grandpa a desk organizer with the same photos from Shutterfly. Tyler got a Buffalo Bills jacket and t-shirt since they did incredibly well in the playoffs last season.

Dad and I surprised mom with a Nintendo Switch, games and accessories so that we can all play together. There are a ton of games where we can all play online together which allows me to be able to do stuff with my parents besides FaceTime them.

The hardest part about this time of year is having to call on FaceTime for each birthday and not being there to celebrate. When I make everyone’s calendar for Christmas with all the photos from the past year, it stinks not being in any of the photos of celebrations back home. It’s been this way since I went away for college, but at least spring break normally fell around Tyler’s birthday.

Having to FaceTime for each birthday is great because I can see my family, but it’s hard not being able to actually be there.

Birthdays have always been a big thing in my family. The whole house gets decorated, Sadie (my puppy back home) sits at the table to eat cake with everyone and then presents are opened.

Lately, my family will have cake after opening presents so that I don’t have to watch them eat cake on FaceTime. They always ask me if I want some though.

Since I’ve been out here, I’ve been able to go home around my birthday which has helped a lot.

I tend to miss being home a significant amount on each birthday.

My first year in New Mexico, my landlords made me dinner and a birthday cake and then I flew home the following day.

The second year, I was planning on celebrating here with my friends and Nate due to COVID-19. Then a family emergency happened and I flew home the next day.

I ended up with two of my favorite cakes last year as my mom mailed me one and then I had one waiting for me when I got home. I had a lot of cookie cake for breakfast that week-and-a-half.

Who knows what will happen this year, but I have a feeling it will be a birthday on FaceTime.