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We should all be pandemic party poopers


“The opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings.”

That phrase was often quoted by the late, great sportscaster and San Antonio Express-News columnist, Dan Cook. I had the honor of working with Dan at KENS-TV in the early 1990s.

I believe he would say the same thing today about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Everyone in our household is fully vaccinated, except Reagan, Kennedy and Carter, all under the age of 10.

For the past year, we have managed to keep COVID-19 out of our home. Even now, everything we need is delivered. Work meetings are over Zoom. Our kiddos play outside when the neighborhood kids are inside.

Some parents don’t practice physical distance and some do not wear masks. One even hosted a maskless holiday party. We did not attend.

Reagan: “Mom, we don’t go anywhere.”

Me: “We are following the science. The pandemic isn’t over … yet.”

In 2020, the twins turned 7 and Reagan turned 9. We celebrated birthdays with a socially distant drive-by or Kona Ice birthday parade. For two hours, parents drove up and took home a tasty Kona Ice treat for everyone in the vehicle. Owners Randy and Heather Stetson made the day special for everyone involved.

You knew it was a birthday because of the ginormous happy birthday signs provided by my go-to celebration folks, Bash San Antonio. It was safe. It was memorable. It was cost effective.

One of the perks of being a mom is planning birthday parties for your, as Moira Rose of “Schitt$ Creek” would say, “bébes.” At least it is for me. Maybe in some way, I am planning the parties for me?

My dear friend, retired Bexar County Court-at-Law Judge Karen Crouch, is the Yoda of kids’ birthday parties. She has planned memorable ones for her three children: the reptile party, the volcano party, the foam-pit party — I could go on and on. Karen has inspired me to create the Elmo party, jumbo-balloon party, the Moana party and the Jumpy Place parties.

The twins will turn 8 in May, so I decided to test the birthday-party waters. What are other parents doing?

A few weeks ago, I got my chance. A water-slide birthday celebration for a classmate seemed safe enough. It would be held outside. Parents would be wearing masks.

Right? Wrong.

I exited our sport-utility vehicle and it felt like everything was in slow motion. Did I bring my children to a super-spreader event?

Carter and Kennedy: “Mom, we’re the only ones wearing masks!”

Me: “Eisenbergs are trendsetters. Hand me your masks and go play. We are not staying very long.”

Carter: “Mom, now you’re the only one wearing a mask.”

Kennedy: “Momma, you should have worn the ‘Just wear the damn mask’ mask.”

Me: “I thought about it.”

I had donned my specially made “Mask Up” mask with the Alamo Heights logo and my large, black Jackie O sunglasses to protect my eyes. At 57, I was likely the oldest parent and fully vaccinated mom there.

Yes, I noticed the strange looks, but I did Not. Take. Off. The. Mask.  Two other moms had face coverings around their necks.

No one could see the disappointment on my expression because I was fully covered. It’s kinda like when you get Botox and no one can tell you are frowning. What I experienced at the party shocked me

Federal infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has not said the outbreak is not over. The Fat Lady is not even warming up.

What to do for the twins? Game Truck is my answer. The scheduler suggests no more than 12 children in the video-gaming trailer. I am keeping it to 10 masked children. They will have two hours to play video games on gaming systems that I will not buy them.

Kennedy and Carter: “Mom, when can we get an Xbox?”

Me: “When you get a job and pay for it?”

Kennedy and Carter: (crickets)

Lukanie’s Cakes & Cupcakes will create special gamer cupcakes for our guests. For food and drink, pizza and water bottles for 10 hungry guests. For the party favors, specially made gamer masks created by Marissa Arriaga of Bella Mia Designs. I discovered her talent on Facebook.

She created my “Just wear the damn mask” mask for me.

As a parent, you make the best decisions you can to protect your children. During a pandemic, wearing a mask is an easy path to normalcy. Masks allowed my children to return to their second and third grade Spanish-immersion classrooms. It has allowed people to get back to work. Masks will allow my littles to celebrate turning 8 with a small group of friends.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a lot to say about mask wearing, too.

To learn more, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

If the Fat Lady was here, she’d be singing the tune, “Masks Save Lives.” Oh, and she would be wearing a mask.

Gina Galaviz Eisenberg is a mother of Reagan and twins Kennedy and Carter. She and her husband, Ron, own the public-relations firm The Eisenberg Group.


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