Drive-through baby shower, birthday parade keep celebrations going

  • Tim Stoudt of Mid-Valley Special Education Cooperative in St. Charles wears gloves as he drops off a gift during a drive-through baby shower for his co-worker, Megan Payleitner of St. Charles, who is due in June.

    Tim Stoudt of Mid-Valley Special Education Cooperative in St. Charles wears gloves as he drops off a gift during a drive-through baby shower for his co-worker, Megan Payleitner of St. Charles, who is due in June. Courtesy of Josie Wallace

  • Some employees at Mid-Valley Special Education Cooperative in St. Charles kept their social distance as they gathered to have a drive-through baby shower for their co-worker.

    Some employees at Mid-Valley Special Education Cooperative in St. Charles kept their social distance as they gathered to have a drive-through baby shower for their co-worker. Courtesy of Josie Wallace

  • Megan Payleitner, who is due in June, stands with some of her gifts outside her St. Charles home with husband Max and kids Jackson, 6, and Reese, 4. Payleitner's co-workers at Mid-Valley Special Education Cooperative in St. Charles gathered to have a drive-through baby shower.

    Megan Payleitner, who is due in June, stands with some of her gifts outside her St. Charles home with husband Max and kids Jackson, 6, and Reese, 4. Payleitner's co-workers at Mid-Valley Special Education Cooperative in St. Charles gathered to have a drive-through baby shower. Courtesy of Josie Wallace

  • Some of the wrapped gifts were placed in a hamper before being delivered during the drive-through baby shower for Megan Payleitner of St. Charles.

    Some of the wrapped gifts were placed in a hamper before being delivered during the drive-through baby shower for Megan Payleitner of St. Charles. Courtesy of Josie Wallace

  • When her daughter's 5th birthday party was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak, Olivia Williamson's mom organized a social distance parade. Neighbors drove by with signs, honked and waved to help make her day special.

    When her daughter's 5th birthday party was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak, Olivia Williamson's mom organized a social distance parade. Neighbors drove by with signs, honked and waved to help make her day special. Photo courtesy of Jenny Williamson

  • When her daughter's 5th birthday party was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak, Olivia Williamson's mom organized a social distance parade. Neighbors drove by with signs, honked and waved to help make her day special.

    When her daughter's 5th birthday party was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak, Olivia Williamson's mom organized a social distance parade. Neighbors drove by with signs, honked and waved to help make her day special. Photo courtesy of Jenny Williamson

 
 
Updated 3/21/2020 10:27 AM

A long line of honking cars and cheering drivers interrupted a pregnant Megan Payleitner's yard work Thursday at her St. Charles home.

When Josie Wallace and her co-workers at Mid-Valley Special Education Cooperative in St. Charles heard they would likely spend the next few weeks at home because of the coronavirus, they knew that they had to do something for Payleiter's baby shower.

 

Describing Payleitner, who is due in June, as a "chronic online shopper," Wallace, of Pingree Grove, and her co-workers said they were worried she would buy everything on her own shower registry.

The group discussed its plan of attack as members met in a parking lot near the St. Charles woman's home -- all while keeping good social distance and wearing gloves.

Each of them took turns driving up and dropping off wrapped gifts in a large cardboard box at the end of the driveway.

"Oh my gosh. it was amazing," said Payleitner of the surprise drive-through baby shower. "I am pretty sure that my husband, Max, was in on it, too."

A family in Elgin came up with a similar safe celebration when 5-year-old Olivia Williamson's birthday party had to be canceled. Her mom Jenny Williamson organized a parade.

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Neighbors drove by with signs, honked and waved to help make Olivia's day special.

Payleitner, who moved to her neighborhood three weeks ago with her family, said "this is such a weird time right now and this was so special, a total surprise."

Wallace offered some advice about moving forward in these challenging times.

"Get creative, be present even if you can't physically be there, and check on your friends. Love each other now more than ever, even if it's from a distance."

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