Yang Xiayu anf his mother. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
An essay written by a teenager gathered many likes online recently, in which the student told the story of his mother, a military medic, going to Wuhan to fight the novel coronavirus, the news portal The Paper reported on Friday.
The writer of the essay, Yang Xiayu, is a sixth grader at No 2 experimental school affiliated to Shanghai Normal University in Putuo district, and his mother is a chief nurse of orthopedics at No 905 military hospital of the Navy, People's Liberation Army.
The essay was a winter break assignment, and Yang said he wrote the story because he was moved by his mother's answer to the call to serve.
Yuan Jianzhou, the vice-president of the school, said Yang's essay was one of the 191 essays the school received. It was so touching that his Chinese teacher submitted it to Shanghai Morning Post's social media on WeChat, which later published the essay online and received a lot of touching responses, such as "This mother sets the best example for her child" and "Thumbs-up for this heroic mother".
Liu Jun, an education officer of Putuo district, said the district called for essays documenting the "unusual winter holiday" recently, and students in the district started telling different stories of people fighting against the epidemic.
Some wrote about their parents who are medical professionals, some wrote about their donations of masks and money, and some wrote about social workers' efforts in stopping disease transmission.
The essays documented this unusual holiday — a hard time yet with warm deeds by individuals, Liu said.
Below are two essays from the students:
Yang Xiayu anf his mother. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
An unusual winter holiday
By Yang Xiayu,
Class 4, Grade 6, No 2 experimental school affiliated to Shanghai Normal University
Jan 24 was the eve of the Lunar New Year. A ringing phone call woke me up from a sweet dream. As I opened my drowsy eyes, Mom was already on the phone: "Yes, director, I am on holiday with my family in Changzhou (a city in Jiangsu province). When is the time? Okay, we will be on our way at once."
Click! Mom turned on the bedroom light, and jostled my dad and me awake. "Quickly, we have to pack up and go back to Shanghai now. I need to report to urgent work for Wuhan at 11 am."
Dad grumbled, "It's just five o'clock, don't you let me have a good holiday!"
The sudden exposure of light made it hard for me to open my eyes, as I snuggled myself with the blanket and complained, "Today is the eve of the Lunar New Year, and we have a family dinner with great grandfather and the aunties. I want to receive lucky money when we pay visits to relatives. I haven't celebrated the Spring Festival in the countryside for years!"
"My baby, I will explain to you on our way. Now, get up and pack up your stuff," said Mom as she pulled me out of bed and put clothes on me.
In the wake of our noises, grandpa and grandma sleeping in the next room got up. One started to prepare breakfast, and the other started packing things up and making phone calls.
At 7 am, we had a simple and quick breakfast and put luggage in the car, leaving stuff that could not fit in to relatives. It was raining outside, the sky was still dark, and it was foggy.
Mom dragged me into the car, despite my crying for New Year visits, and Dad started the engine. The rain got heavy and the road was permeated with fog. The windshield wipers worked at the highest frequency but we could only see the road 50 meters ahead. At one time Mom urged Dad to drive faster, but at another time she warned him to slow down, which made me carsick and feel awful about this Spring Festival.
The rain stopped when we drove on the highway to Shanghai, and Mom finally had time to turn around and talk to me.
"I know you are not happy, but do you know why Mom has to give up the holiday and go to Wuhan?" she asked, and added: "Because there is a new type of virus in Wuhan, and hundreds of people are infected and thousands are in quarantine."
"Is it more serious than the flu?" I asked.
"Definitely. Remember those 16 classmates who couldn't come to school last month because of having the flu? This pneumonia-like virus is more dangerous. In 2003, a similar virus called SARS broke out in Beijing, infecting thousands and claiming 700 lives, and you were not born then."
I felt so upset when Mom showed me the old pictures of the SARS outbreak: People wore masks everywhere, doctors and nurses put on hazmat preventive clothes, and few people walked on the streets.
"Mom, must you go?" I was worried.
"Yes, I am a chief nurse, and I am a military medic. My job is to heal the wounded and rescue the dying," she said. "Now Wuhan is in danger. It is your father's hometown, and your mom must go and save it."
We arrived in Shanghai in time, and Mom rushed home. Only after 10 minutes, she was downstairs again with a small bag. Looking at Mom, I was about to cry. I knew Mom won't be with us for a long time, and I won't be able to eat her dishes — Mom is going to brave the dangerous virus.
Mom hugged me and patted my head. "Be strong," she said to me when leaving, and I nodded.
The dinner for our Lunar New Year was noodles cooked by my grandpa. There was little festivity, and I didn't even want to watch the Spring Festival Gala on television. Outside, there were no sounds of traffic, nor of firecrackers. Time seemed to stop.
At 8 pm, Mom called home. "Watch the news on (China) Central Television," she said and hung up before we talked. I turned on the television. It was broadcasting the reinforcement by military medics from Shanghai to Wuhan, and Mom was on the screen.
Wearing the navy's blue uniform, Mom and other 150 medics from the navy were on their way to the airplane. The cargo plane had its back door wide open, and Mom and her comrades rushed to board the plane, quietly and orderly. The faces of everyone were solemn and yet anxious, and the only sound there was the unison of shoes hitting the ground and the order given by the commander. Finally, the airplane taxied to the runway, and took off to the night sky.
Wuhan, tonight you will be no longer be on your own! Mom and her comrades are coming!
After watching the live broadcast, I was not upset anymore and fell asleep. Tomorrow is the first day of the Lunar New Year. Life will continue, Mom will triumph, and Wuhan will be safe again.
Ordinary family's contribution indispensable to society
By Zhan Yuxiao
Class 1, Grade 8, No 2 experimental school affiliated to Shanghai Normal University
As the final exams finished, the first semester of the academic year drew to an end. But the weather wouldn't chill down. December was unusually warm, with the temperature rising and falling dramatically from time to time — there seemed to be something special about this winter. At home, everything went on as usual. Like in previous years, we spent the Spring Festival holiday in my mother's hometown of Yangzhou.
Spring Festival celebrations in Yangzhou started as early as a week before the big day. Walking around on the streets, you could easily feel that the festival was just around the corner. The whole city was immersed in the joyful holiday mood.
Everything was just like it used to be — the view, the buildings, the happy family gatherings. It was only after two days when news poured in: A new coronavirus broke out in Wuhan's seafood market.
Panic brought by the virus was all over the place. TV and social media were broadcasting breaking news every day: Confirmed infections increased by a few hundred in one day, the virus can be transmitted among humans. All of a sudden, surgical masks were sold out, fever clinics were overcrowded, doctors rushed to Wuhan. As I browsed through the worrying headlines, I secretly hoped that Dad wouldn't go. After all, he wasn't in the fever clinic department.
The Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve was a time for family reunions. We prepared dinner together. I was so happy that Grandpa taught me how to cook Yangzhou meatballs. After dinner, we watched the Spring Festival Gala on TV. Everyone was happy, except for Dad. He kept checking the phone, his looks getting solemn.
On the morning of the Spring Festival, Mom and Dad made the announcement: Time to go back to Shanghai. Before I could digest what was happening, we were already driving on the highway, as trees and streetlamps flashed outside my car window.
I couldn't shake off all the questions in my head. Why were we going back all of a sudden? Dad is not a doctor in a fever clinic after all. There were already confirmed cases in Shanghai and the news said tourists from Hubei were all settled in a hotel for now, so there were still risks. How could Mom disregard all these factors and agree to return? She was the one who always made health the top priority of the family…
When we got closer to home, I noticed something different. The usually busy shopping mall was quiet. At gates to residential communities, doctors in protective suits and volunteers wearing surgical masks were doing checkups of passersby. That's when I realized the pneumonia had spread from Wuhan to other places, so Dad must cancel the holiday and go back to work. When people stayed home amid the crisis, doctors and nurses had to do their jobs, even when it meant facing the disease.
When Dad was about to leave home, he turned around. I recalled what I read online and said: "Avoid going out. Wear a mask if we have to." Dad paused, and broke a smile: "That's my good boy. Dad will help the other doctors save lives. You will now help take care of our family." Mom put a mask over Dad's mouth: "Just go. I will be here."
I feel so proud. My dad is just an ordinary man, but he's also a doctor willing to take risks to save lives. My family is just an ordinary family, but we are willing to sacrifice for the whole society and make our contribution, just like every other family of many other doctors.
It is said that life is easy only because others are shouldering all the difficulties. In this unusual winter break, I came to understand that every ordinary family contributes indispensable strength to the society. As the epidemic rages, it is my dad and his fellow doctors and nurses who are holding up the sky for this country.