The holidays are traditionally the time to be thankful for everything we have, and to celebrate the simple things – family, friends, health and happiness. In the words of the author Michaele Charles, “…. reflecting regularly on all for which you are thankful will boost your emotional well-being.”
Well, if there was ever a time that our collective well-being needed a boost, it is now. The passage of time and the seasons feel distorted this year. It’s hard to believe that Christmas is less than 30 days away.
Yes, 2020 will be a year for the history books: a global pandemic, sheltering-in-place, business shutdowns, civil unrest, economic devastation, divisive politics, a polarized society, and the loss of loved ones, all resulting in an atmosphere of ever-present angst.
Yet, through the maelstrom, some amazing things, both personally and professionally, happened in my little world – for which I am incredibly grateful.
On a personal level: I consider my single greatest life achievement is being a father. Watching Ashley and Jonathan morph into adulthood has been a tremendous source of fulfillment for me. So, it was no surprise (but a much-anticipated event) when Ashley and my son-in-law Steve welcomed their first child into the world on August 6: a baby girl!
That’s right, I am a grandfather!
Currently, our baby granddaughter, Wren Marie, is about as big as this year’s particularly modest-sized Thanksgiving Day turkey. She is a beacon of joy, wonder, and a bright ray of sunshine in our world. It was truly an indescribable feeling to witness her neurons connecting during the first days of her life. Who could imagine such elation from seemingly mundane moments such as her first sneeze?
Wren, now 16 weeks young, is an uplifting reminder of the euphoria borne of unconditional love.
Our son, Jonathan, isolated and alone in Denver (or so my wife believed and agonized over) found love just before the shutdown. Her name is Tara, and they’re still going strong. In fact, Jonathan spent Thanksgiving (not isolated and alone) with Tara’s family in Colorado.
My dear young mom who just turned 89-years-old is stuck in California for the holidays this year. But she is healthy, happy, and very content with her devoted fiancée, Terry. I am truly grateful.
Sheltering-in-place with my beloved wife of 38 years was what I would describe as an interesting experience. Ann is an occupational hand therapist, and with our daughter, Ashley runs a busy and successful practice on the Upper West Side.
Despite our being “essential workers,” we were forced to shut down our private practices for two-and-a-half very long months. We were a great source of support for each other during the storm that put “the city that never sleeps” to bed. (Thank goodness we opted for the three-bedroom apartment instead of the two-bedroom!
On a professional level, having to close my office was one of the most challenging experiences I have ever endured – both emotionally and financially. The weeks of March 20th through June 7th felt like an eternity. But life was restored when I was finally able to open my doors and welcome back my precious patients. To once again enjoy the people, the relationships, and the personal interactions that sustain me, I am renewed, rejuvenated, and grateful.
I so appreciate each and every one of my patients. They give me a sense of purpose and dedication and I am ever so grateful for the acknowledgment and appreciation they express for my commitment to them and their well-being.
Thankfully, 2020 is coming to a rapid end. How I feel about this past year is perfectly summed up by these famous words by Charles Dickens:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
I am optimistic that we are on the rebound. I’m greatly encouraged by the signs that an effective vaccine is on the near horizon. In the meantime, we must remain vigilant and careful.
I wish all of you a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season…
With much gratitude,
Michael Sinkin, DDS