A Chanukah Message from Dr. Melissa Wikoff

A Chanukah Message from Dr. Melissa Wikoff

Read community insights, advice and perspectives during Chanukah.

Dr. Melissa Wikoff
Dr. Melissa Wikoff

Eight Things I am be Thankful for this Year:

1. My Jewish Atlanta Community. I wrote this note earlier this year to the Jewish Moms of Atlanta Facebook group and it’s appropriate to share here:

I wanted to send a huge thank you to this beautiful JMOA community. My husband and I are sitting here dumbfounded in the kindness that virtual strangers have shown us. All of our worlds have been turned upside down in different ways. My family owns a small business and both my husband and I reached out in this group and in the Jewish Dads group to find help over the last few months for things like a banker to help us with the PPP, help with parenting young kids during this crazy time, and sourcing PPE. You have come through for us in huge ways on every level. We had no idea how much social media would help us in the ways that you came through. For years, I have poured my heart and soul into growing my practice from scratch and planned for many things, but not for a pandemic to stop it in its tracks. If you know me personally, then you understand that it’s my third child and how much I love what I do. Because of you, even though we were temporarily closed and had no income, I was able to find a way to take care of my employees so that they could pay rent and put food on their families’ tables. Because of you, we were able to find the protective gear that we desperately need to safely get going again. Since we are a small operation, we couldn’t find anyone willing to sell us things we needed in such small quantities. I am a healthcare provider, but Amazon doesn’t recognize my license as essential in the state of Georgia so we couldn’t even order paper towels, let alone proper disinfecting agents. My own professional organizations were unable to help but this amazing Jewish community helped connect us to people who were able to get us everything we needed. Total strangers dropping off pieces of PPE at my office and my home. You came through for us in big ways and we will forever be grateful. We are so unbelievably thankful for all of you who went out on a limb to make the right connections for us. We are blown away by your kindness. We hope to do the same for many of you and take care of our community in the future. Thank you Jewish Atlanta!

2. The opportunity for a front-row seat to see Bruce Springsteen on Broadway. After the longest period of time in my life without live music or theater, to lock eyes with my absolute favorite musician while he sang my favorite song (“Thunder Road”) was just beyond words. My brother is an actor and this experience made me feel so very hopeful that his light will get to shine on stage to a full house again soon.

3. The doctors, scientists, and nurses who have given so selflessly and worked so hard this year. I have never felt more grateful in my life than when my six-year-old daughter was vaccinated. I am hopeful for more developments so we can breathe that same sigh of relief for my three-year-old son soon!

4. My children. These resilient little creatures who survived “computer school” and have started “normal” activities again. It’s not lost on me that we were privileged to have a friend who is a Broadway dancer making up a weekly Zoom dance class just for my kid. It’s also not lost on me how incredibly lonely that was for her and it fills my soul to see her running around in ballet slippers in a room with other little girls. We recently went to the zoo, and it was amazing to watch my son’s eyes light up in wonder as we went around on the carousel. A treat for any kid, sure, but he hadn’t been on a ride since before he could remember! All of these little things I used to take for granted (walking around the grocery store or a trip to Target) are new and exciting to him! What a thrill.

5. My husband. He’s always helped behind the scenes, but this year Josh resigned from his amazing tech job with even better benefits to take on a real role at our practice. He’s worked hard to exponentially grow our small business and I’m proud of him for taking such a risk. When I missed my family and it wasn’t safe for us to fly, he planned a crazy road trip and rented an RV and drove straight to Connecticut to see them. Since our family all lives out-of-town, juggling a business and two small children on our own can make you feel like you’re the ringleader in a circus, but I’m so grateful to have such a loving and fun partner to share this life with!

6. Technology. I’ve got a love-hate relationship with all of this virtual stuff, but I’m truly grateful for it. I can help tune hearing aids for patients who are immunocompromised from the comfort and safety of their own homes, our parents can read a bedtime story to our kids over our Portal, and we can have trivia nights with groups of our friends who live a million miles away.

7. Teachers! Wow, I have never been more grateful for teachers in my entire life. I’m so thankful for those teachers, especially at the Epstein School, who care for and love my kids like they are their own. I have always appreciated educators, but after even one day of Zoom school, I can’t thank those teachers enough for what they do for the little ones I love the most. My daughter’s first preschool teacher, Lisa Furie, FaceTimed my kids and her children even read books to them in the early days of the pandemic. Miss Lisa owed us nothing. Avital had moved on to elementary school, but she has a big heart and she was there for my kids when they needed her most. It’s a kindness I won’t soon forget.

8. Chanukah always reminds me to find light in the darkness. It’s a reminder to me to take pause in the morning and take a breath of gratitude for the smallest things that bring me joy. A hot cup of coffee before the kids are awake, my daughter’s grin with a gap from her first lost tooth, my husband’s deep laugh when we share a joke, a snuggle from my dogs and my son’s pride when he can put his shoes on all by himself.

Melissa Wikoff, Au.D. is the founder and director of Audiology at Peachtree Hearing.

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