I Can't Find the Words

toddler and mom with a teacher in a mask

Maloise Jean remembers how fast everything changed.

One day she was seeing students as a nurse practitioner at the Georgetown campus health center where she normally works. The next, she was in a mask and scrubs at a hospital clinic screening employees for COVID-19 part of redeployments aimed at addressing the pandemic.  

“I don’t have to do the test myself. But we’re in the same room as the people being tested,” she says of her current job. “But we’ve had a few positives. It’s a little scary.”

That Maloise was able to work at all was something of a surprise.

The D.C. area mom has a 2-1/2 year old daughter who normally attends the local Georgetown child care center. But that center was closing because of the pandemic. Yet both she and her husband had to work. And with no family nearby, the options were tough: stay home; tag-team with her husband; call in a stranger. She thought about bringing her mother down from New York. “Then my uncle – who lives with my mother tested positive.” He’s since recovered.

“I started to panic,” she recalls.  

Within a day, Maloise got word of a hub center located near her home. Arrangements were made; files were transferred; belongings were delivered. “Emmie has peanut allergies so we needed her Epi-Pen and other things to be at the new center,” recalls Maloise. “The director from Emmie’s old daycare contacted me to say she had already dropped everything off.” It all happened within 24 hours.

“We didn’t have to wait,” she says of the time between the closing of one center and the arrival to the next. “We got to come in the next day.”

For Maloise, whose work as a nurse is part of a family tradition that started with her mother, it’s meant continuing her commitment to patient care, and being able to do the job she loves without worry.

“The team at Bright Horizons Hub Center at 1111 Pennsylvania Avenue …they welcomed my daughter and me with opened arms,” she says.

“From security to administration to the teachers…I can’t describe…I can’t find the words, I just feel very overwhelmed with joy. There’s not a minute I worry. I never say ‘I hope she’s ok,’ because I know she’s ok. She’s happy when I drop her off, and happy when I pick her up.

“Without the center I don’t know what I would have done,” she says. “I probably would have had to stay home.”