Matthew Tiedt expected his 16th birthday to be similar to the one his sister had three years before: a big backyard party with all his friends and family, a sleepover with a few of them, and getting his driver’s license.


It was already going to be an unusual day because this year, the Southwest Austin teen’s birthday was going to be on Easter. He thought he might have the party the day before and then get his license the following week.


Then the coronavirus pandemic and the city’s stay-at-home order happened. That quashed the backyard party, and with the DMV closed, he couldn’t get his license.


So his parents came up with a birthday surprise. A few days before, they called two of his best friends’ parents and made a plan.


They told Matthew he could stay up late playing video games with his friends. Matthew’s dad had the idea to make cupcakes for each of the boys and order pizza from DoubleDave’s Pizzaworks. Then Matthew would drive to each friend’s house and deliver the food from a safe, 6-foot distance. Everyone would head back inside their own homes and have the pizza and cupcakes while playing "Minecraft" and "Fortnite" together.


Matthew didn’t know about the plan until that day, when he saw his mom, Anne, putting the cupcakes into different boxes. At that point, she told him the plan.


"It was definitely different," he says. "It wasn’t the ideal thing, but it was the best we could do."


It was the first time Matthew had seen either friend since the stay-at-home order went into effect. At each house, he left them the pizza and cupcakes, and his friends left him a present.


"It was a little bit awkward," he says. "It was still cool to experience and see my friends after quite some time away."


"We got home and he tore into his pizza box," Anne says. "He starting gaming with them and continued the conversation with them."


The next day, his actual birthday and Easter, the family watched a virtual church service, ate lunch and had a Baskin-Robbins ice cream birthday cake.


Even though Matthew won’t count this as one of his top five birthdays right now, his mom thinks it will be. "We’re all trying, we’re all trying to honor the day as best we can and make it memorable," she says.


She thinks he’ll remember that they tried their best and made it as fun as they could.


They have talked about having a bigger party once the stay-at-home order is lifted. They might even buy a big "Happy 16th Birthday" sign and add the number of extra months to the sign.