Did it feel like Labor Day at your house? While most are celebrating the end of summer, I’m left wondering what happened to not only summer, but the preceding season as well.
Who could have imagined when the lions of an epidemic first blew in last March that when that first nip of cold air appeared, we’d still be talking about our desire to return to some form of normalcy.
That’s not to say we haven’t made progress or things haven’t improved from those dark months of despair when thousands of Americans lost their lives to a ferocious virus.
It all seems like a blur now — the searches for toilet paper and hand sanitizer, empty shelves at the supermarket, and an economy dialed back to a standstill.
But, as summer ends, and America returns to back to school and work mode, it still doesn’t feel exactly right and the thick air of uncertainty is more than subtle.
I spoke to a friend who had a different take on the last few months. She told stories of family outings, trips to the lake and camping excursions that allowed her family to recapture something that had been lost in the fervor of the normalcy we enjoyed before COVID-19.
I suppose the same thing happened here in a fashion. Family movie nights and other homebound activities often filled our nights, and we’ve played more than a game or two of Spades.
My son learned how to play backgammon and my daughters are more than prepared for upcoming driver examinations, so I suspect I may be looking at the past three months through a half full lens.
In any case, as my children prepare to begin school online for the first nine weeks, I’m attempting to remain optimistic, ignoring the messages of impending doom looming.
Like students across the nation, my kids are facing a new situation where virtual instruction becomes a reality.
Their situation is not unlike the dilemma facing millions of Americans as we celebrate a holiday that recognizes the resiliency of a labor force that has often been asked to bob and weave in critical situations.
In a challenging situation when many citizens have lost confidence in our leaders to provide a path forward, it’s the American worker who will provide the light at the end of the tunnel to which a nation is so desperately seeking.
Even with the uncertainty of an environment where normal seems elusive, it’s appropriate and timely to recognize and salute an American workforce that continues to answer the call.
It’s also a good time to recognize members of that workforce who have made sacrifices to ensure our lives could continue with as little disruption as possible during these trying times.
On this Labor Day, it’s the grocery store workers who restock those empty shelves, the doctors and nurses who don’t have the option of working from home, the public safety workers or postal employees who continue to provide vital support to our communities that more than deserve a day off.
It’s those unsung heroes that remind us of the power of the American psyche, the ability to endure and overcome the most desperate of situations in the most difficult of times.
As summer comes to an end, I suppose I’ll look back and remember this summer as the lost season and approach the start of school as a new beginning — for students, parents and the millions who are ready and willing for a return to work.
For the men and women we celebrate on this season-closing holiday, it’s a return to the familiar role of providing the fuel that runs a nation.
It’s the way of the American worker.