CHICAGO (CBS) — In the midst of all the anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, there’s also a yearning for normalcy and joy.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole found out even the smallest gestures can go a long way.

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Birthdays, especially for kids, are something to be remembered. But just because we are social distancing, doesn’t mean they have to be ignored.

Josie Soler’s friends couldn’t let her birthday pass. So they pulled up to her Libertyville cul-de-sac in vans and SUVs to wish her well.

And the emotions flowed.

“It was all scattered. Cars kept coming. They were waving flags and banners,” she said.

Some peaked through their moon roofs, others kept three to six feet a part and motioned to Josie with hugs as she turned nine.

“They were all my best-est friends that I hang out with all the time, except for now,” Soler said.

For parents struggling with a way to mark the day, it was an incredible instant.

“It was heartbreaking, but it also became this beautiful, beautiful moment where all this love poured into the street,” Tiffany Soler said.

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In the South Loop, Emmaline Spurgeon’s friends sang happy seventh birthday on a Zoom group chat.  Mom Beth skipped the toilet paper and sanitizer at Target for a more important purchase.

“I went for the unicorn piñata. It was critically important at the time,” she said.

The whole family dressed as unicorns and shared an unexpected lesson.

“We are staying inside to give a gift to the rest of the world right now,” Beth Spurgeon said.

On her birthday, Josie’s grandparents had to wish her well through the front glass door. It was a difficult moment for all.

“My grandma actually cried, Josie said.

But mingled in the tears of frustrating times were also tears of joy.

“You really see who you got in your village and that gives you hope to move on,” Tiffany Soler said.

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When this challenge is a memory, it just might be the birthdays we marked at this time that are the ones we’ll remember most.