At this time every year I’m excited to write about ‘conference week’, something we all look forward to, something our team works toward for over a year. If things had gone according to plan, I would already be on site, spending time alone to ground myself for the coming days. Typically, by now, we have pored over your names in a thousand ways, prepared for your arrival with excitement and anticipation, curated a highly specialized agenda, chosen your ribbons, totes, and nursing room refrigerators with more discussion than you would imagine, and accounted for thousands of meaningful details. I have intended for months that each of you would arrive safely and be refueled for your vital work.
One of my favorite scenes is watching you reconnect at the Welcome Reception, running up and hugging each other, or meeting for the first time after years of interacting online. Those moments are special, palpable. They will happen again, and we cannot wait for that.
Of course, this year is different. In oh so many ways. And I suspect that we’ll learn a lot about how different isn’t bad, actually better than we anticipated, and that we’ll feel the electricity of being connected in innovative ways online, even states and oceans apart.
While the coronavirus is teaching us new things every day, I also know for sure that what the world is suddenly learning about the character and passion of healthcare professionals and hospital personnel is not as surprising to anyone who actually works in healthcare.
Quiet, skilled heroism is not new, only magnified. The pitching in from all professions toward a common and humane goal, expected, desired. There is an emotional toll that while tucked in for the moment, leaks out of eyes and grips the steering wheel on the silent drive home. The fear, second-guessing, responsibility, grief, trauma, vulnerability, camaraderie, and resilience. This is the landscape.
Perspective matters. It is squarely in place. Instead of focusing on the thousands of things that will not be the same this year, my wish is that we focus on each other. On the hope that the colleague you can’t wait to see in person next year is still with us, spared from this virus. On the hope that togetherness is more decision than geography.
We are grateful that we get to experience the online event with you in May. We are hopeful that the education and connection gained there will help thousands of babies and families all over the world. My intention remains: that you arrive safely and are refueled for your vital work.
Holding all of you and your families in our thoughts.