I know we have all been through so much this year, and many of you were kind enough to share both the ups and downs of your lives with us. Several of you got married over Zoom or at City Hall (#inmyMM), while some of you welcomed babies amid the pandemic, including two of our M.M. team members. Many of you are healthcare workers on the front line, treating and caring for patients. Some of you lost your jobs as a result of the crisis, and some of you had no choice but to leave because it was impossible to balance both work and home. And then there were those who found new opportunities, including Ready To Run participants Kim Jackson of Georgia, who was the first known LGBTQ woman elected to that state’s Senate, and Emily Weber, who was the first known Asian-American woman elected to Missouri’s House of Representatives!
For me, 2020 was a year of both incalculable joy and sadness, and not just because of Covid. In June, I lost my beloved grandmother, Lydia, at age 93. Eight weeks later, I gave birth to my son, and seven weeks later, we flew to Minnesota, where our surrogate gave birth to our twins. Six weeks later, I came back to work. With the year coming to a close, I want to take a moment to share my grandmother, Lydia, with you—what she meant to me, my company, and the great-grandchildren she sadly did not get to meet.
Lydia was a special person. Above all, she considered herself a New Yorker. Born in New Hampshire and raised in Maine by two Lithuanian immigrants, she eloped and moved to New York City with my grandfather at the age of 22, first living in Times Square, where my grandfather worked as a super. After getting divorced at 29, she bought her one and only apartment for $3,375 in Morningside Heights, Manhattan, where she would live for the next sixty-something years. My grandmother spent her professional years as a librarian for the New York Public Library, eventually becoming the head of Young Adult Programs, working primarily with Black teenagers in Harlem. Her first love was always acting, and after she retired from the Public Library, she signed up with an agency, founded a theater group in her community and began performing. She appeared in several films, including the award-winning Poison, and showed up in multiple ads, including one for the Discovery Channel.