Married or otherwise, a milestone deserves to be celebrated even if we have to mix in a little isolation. Today, we hear the stories of love over lockdown from Nicole and Miko De Los Reyes, Javier and Martha Laurel, and Angelo and Manna Vargas-Morada.
No one expected just how much the pandemic would take from what we claimed to be our year in 2020. It’s been 6 months since the initial lockdown was declared back in March and many of our personal milestones have been spent in quarantine. Though it is still for everyone’s betterment to stay isolated and safe, there is also that ache from not being able to celebrate those significant events—even more so an anniversary.
But as true romantics know, love will always prevail. Here are some accounts of how these couples celebrated their anniversaries over lockdown, and how they realized what truly mattered in these dire times.
A Baby, a Balcony, and Japanese Food
The most recent celebrants in this feature, Miko and Nicole didn’t expect that the lockdown would reach this far into the year. Jointly sharing, “We did not expect the lockdown to last as long as it did. The concept of lockdown was completely new to us and we in fact expected it to just last perhaps 3-4 weeks, not foreseeing how strictly implementation was to be observed.” At the time of the initial quarantine, the couple didn’t really have much of a plan for their anniversary, but other key plans were dropped, “Back in March we did not have any concrete anniversary plans yet, although we did have several trips planned to go abroad.”
With their wedding anniversary on August 3, they also added that another important celebration was also spent over quarantine—the birth of their daughter. Sharing on their first anniversary, “Last year we celebrated our anniversary in the hospital. We were in the hospital because Nicole gave birth to our baby girl on July 30th 2019, she arrived 6 weeks early so our daughter, Yani, had to spend an additional 2 weeks in the incubator and we spent the time with her.” They saw this as serendipitous timing as they seem to have a new milestone along with their wedding anniversary each year, “We have been blessed to have a milestone so far every year of our marriage. Last year it was the birth of our daughter and this year it will be the completion of our own home.” Although this new home wasn’t completely finished, Miko decided to make some decorations to sync the new home’s celebration with their anniversary this year. “We initially agreed on not doing anything special for our anniversary this year because we have been observing lockdown protocols and also saving up for our house. However, I still had to do something, so I came up with a plan to fix the balcony of our house and set up a dinner with minimal furniture to give Nicole a preview of what it would be like living in our new house. I also ordered some Japanese food, one of her favorites, and something we both have not had in a while.” Showing off, at least figuratively, the full vision of their new abode along with some sushi.
Despite admitting the limitations to personal celebrations, sharing that, “We were not able to travel, which is one of our bonding activities, we were not able to celebrate with friends and extended family who we usually see very often.” The restriction has given them realizations as family as well, “The lockdown has made us realize that we are so blessed and privileged to be together and enjoy each other’s company even without the expectations of how a celebration has to be.” Ending with the sentiment that these milestones go beyond physical get-togethers, “We have realized that what truly matters in these milestones is not how it is celebrated and perhaps not even being physically together, but the acknowledgment of the day and how you may internalize the reason, meaning, and love behind that day.”
Going back much earlier in the lockdown, Javier and Martha Laurel also had to make the most with the quarantine to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary back in April 12 earlier this year. Although they didn’t have a sure plan for their wedding anniversary at the time, they also expected that the quarantine would only take a brief time, stating that, “We were expecting the lockdown to be lifted by the start of April. We didn’t have any concrete plans for the anniversary yet. But we were planning to head out of town as a family for the weekend.”
“We were lucky that our anniversary landed on the same day as Easter Sunday,” the couple notes on the added significance of their anniversary this year. They remarked that this year they pulled some surprises for each other, proving that you can still plan a pleasant surprise amidst these restrictions. “This year, we stayed in my parents house for about two weeks. In the morning, my four year old son and I snuck out while my wife was asleep and bought flowers at the village flower shop. Then we as a family, (parents, siblings, my wife and son) celebrated a joint Easter Sunday and Wedding Anniversary.” Javier shares the he went beyond just flowers for the celebration and even got a surprise gift himself. “The flowers I bought were used as the centerpiece for our table setting. I also treated my wife to a health and wellness pack of vitamin drips and skin products. She in turn, bought me shoes that I have been wanting for a while. It was a simple celebration but we are happy that we were able to celebrate two occasions with family.”
Grateful as they are to have been in lockdown with extended family to celebrate the double event, they also noted that technology has been a big help to connect with loved ones from afar, “This lockdown has taught us to appreciate milestones because celebrating them has definitely changed. We are lucky to be living in the technology era where we can connect wirelessly with family and friends and celebrate these milestones with them, albeit not physically.”
The lockdown has given many of us time for some introspection and seeing what truly matters in our lives. This is the idea that permeated throughout the celebrations Manna Vargas-Morada and Angelo Morada celebrated over quarantine. On the first milestone they celebrated, “Earlier in the lockdown we celebrated my son’s first birthday–the celebration was marked by a more meaningful labor of love such as making his birthday cake and decorations from scratch.” And for their second anniversary later in July, the isolated celebration brought a solemn but meaningful talk, sharing that, “This anniversary turned out to be more meaningful in all its simplicity. We had a quiet dinner in our future home (unfurnished and all), talking about our plans for the future and dreams for our family.”
Admittedly, like the other couples, they didn’t really plan much of their anniversary this year, “With so much uncertainty looming back then (even now), we weren’t really thinking about our anniversary, much less how to celebrate it. We were just constantly grateful that despite the challenges, we had more time with each other and our young son.” Noting that if any good came out of this quarantine period, it is the realization of the true priorities in life. Manna shares then when stripped down of all the decorations, one can see the real meaning of these milestones, “In the absence of all the bells and whistles society tells us celebrations need nowadays, the limitations of times has really reminded me of what matters most, genuine presence, intention, and nurturing connection.”