It’s that time of year again when magazines name their “person of the year.” But, when my kiddos see those glossy covers, I’m going to teach them that it’s not just one person that made a difference in this crazy year of 2020. No, it’s all of us who came together to get us through. And, I’m going to add to this lesson I’m teaching my children about 2020, that the people who made the biggest difference during the pandemic are those who Mr. Rogers said they would be - the helpers.
So here’s to you, the everyday superheroes, who don’t wear capes but masks and face shields instead, that got us to the other side of this year.
To the ICU doctor, covered in PPE from head to toe that held the hands and held up the iPads for lonely, dying COVID-19 patients to say goodbye to their families.
To the undertaker and funeral home director who arranged for socially-distanced safe ways for us to say our many goodbyes that we didn’t know we would have to make.
To the COVID-19 patient that didn’t need a hospital stay but sacrificed time away from work, school, family, and friends to quarantine for 14 days at home to keep their community safe.
To the overworked COVID-19 testing nurses that dawned scrubs, face shields, masks, gloves, and a picture of her smiling each day so her patients could still see her humanity.
To the delivery people, from the Amazon driver and postman to the pizza delivery guy, who brought the packages, food, and supplies we needed to our doors so we could continue to social distance.
To the social distancers who respectfully stood six feet away from others on Xs marked with electrical tape of the floor and behind plexiglass while wearing cloth masks, so we could shop safely at grocery stores.
To the volunteers who sewed those cloth masks for family, friends, and frontline workers when we were in short supply of N95s.
To the tech supporters who rushed to make sure servers and computers were made accessible and available for their fellow coworkers so we could all move our business meetings and offices to inside our homes and onto Zoom. [Continued in 2 comments]
[Continued 1] To the factory workers who still went to work to make the things we need when the rest of us stayed home.
To the truck drivers that continued to run their routes that brought the things we needed most, including hand sanitizer and toilet paper, to our local stores.
To the grocery store shelf stockers who didn’t know that this year they would be considered frontline workers and who we finally realized have been essential workers all along.
To the Shipt shoppers who brought the things we needed to our doors, wearing masks and gloves as they dropped off our groceries on our front porches.
To the teachers who stayed flexible by moving their classrooms to distance learning online while staying consistent and solid as a rock for our worried students.
To the students--children, teens, and twenty-somethings--who gave up school, sleepovers, sports, and graduations to social distance for the sake of society’s best interest.
To the newly-wanting-to-be-wed couples that planned on surrounding themselves with hundreds of family and friends this year to celebrate their love but instead had to change their plans for the health of others.
To the new mothers who had to forgo their in-person baby showers for a driveby gift dropoff and had to take a COVID test to birth her baby into this world where her little one was welcomed with masked-covered faces.
To the parents who gave up work or strived to find stability while working from home and struggled each day without a break to balance all the new duties of childcare, online distance learning, dirty diapers, dishes, and soothing their children’s pandemic fears.
To the grandparents who stepped in, moved in, or let their grown children move in so they could help take care of their grandchildren when childcare was scarce and scary.
To the daycare providers who smiled under their masks and still showed up at 6 a.m. each morning to take care of the frontline workers’ children, both risking infection and illness in the name of the same calling - taking care of those who needed the care the most.
[Continued 2] To the nannies who became in-home tutors to small children learning how to learn from a distance over devices in kitchens while under the watchful eyes of parents working downstairs in guest bedrooms now converted into makeshift offices.
To the small business owners who had to close their restaurants or shutter their businesses’ doors to help contain the spread of the virus in their community.
To the long term care PCAs who showed up to work each day, risking their health to provide for the health of those most at risk of dying from COVID-19.
To the neighbor who lent out pandemic supplies to the next-door neighbor in need of extra toilet paper, hand sanitizer, or face masks.
To the therapists who took their practice from in-person to over the internet and continued to support us through our collective trauma of adjusting to living in a pandemic.
To the scientists who are behind the scenes studying the virus and coming up with ways for us to combat it.
To the mask wearer that always has an extra on hand, wears a mask even out while going for a walk, and never complained about the discomfort it causes them.
To the grievers who lost a loved one to COVID-19 and bravely shared their stories with us to remind us that our social distancing efforts are still needed.
So here’s to you, the helpers, we see you and all that you did for us in 2020.
We see you!
We thank you!