My mother spent my entire life as an essential worker. She was a Registered Nurse for well over 30 years and often times worked the 3pm – 11pm or 11pm – 7am shift. My Mom was one of the lucky ones. There was always a family member willing to step in and pick up the slack.
Now, in 2020, we are witnessing one of the worst health crisis to ever hit the globe. Hospital beds are down to zero in Southern California. Over 300,000 lives have been lost to COVID-19. Nurses, Doctors, Farmers, Grocery Stores are essential and have been working non-stop since the pandemic hit this Spring. But, who takes care of them? Who looks after their children in the middle of the night while they are desperately working to keep a roof over their family and food in their belly?
Four years in the making, Through the Night intersects the lives of three mothers, three women at a 24-hour daycare center. One works the overnight shift at a hospital; another holds down three jobs and for over two decades and one woman has cared for these children whose parents have nowhere else to turn.
Director Loira Limbal uses Deloris “Nunu” Hogan as the anchor for this emotionally charged doc. Nunu, in the midst of a pandemic and suffering with her own health issues makes it her life mission to ensure every child is accounted for and taken care of. She and her husband Paritck’s kindness and determination are challenged when Nunu is diagnosed with a tumor. Even that doesn’t close the doors of Dee’s Tots. Nunu explains, “We are staying open until they shut us down because our parents need us. It is a little bit scary because every person who walks in could bring in COVID-19.” Which begs the question of who takes care of the caregivers?
Images of children asleep on floor matts while colored lights swirl above their heads and phone conversations between parents and their children are heartwarming. Yet, witnessing that same room completely empty, chairs stacked and Nunu being wheelchair bound is a blatant reminder that life can shift in an instant. Sometimes if you don’t slow down, your body will do it for you. With 50% vision loss, memory issues, trouble communicating and bound to a wheelchair, nothing or no one was going to stop the Nunu’s daycare operation or the yearly graduation celebration. Not even COVID-19.
With Through the Night, Limbal emphasizes the need to people have to label the “mother as a martyr” and cinematically reimagines how we view and treat people who mother. The film is delicately crafted with the humanity and heart that only a child of a female caretaker would know how to share. Essential workers need support, quality childcare, deserve to come to a safe home, be able to pay their bills and put food on the table. Home based daycare centers, like the one the Hogan’s run, have long been one of few social safety nets for working families, especially single mothers.
With COVID-19 over 60 percent of licensed childcare providers have already closed and stimulus packages have not accounted for the true scope of what’s needed . In an effort to help offset costs for families, a fundraiser has been established in tandem with this doc setting a goal of $50,000 to provide 10 home-based daycare centers in New York State financial support to remain open and provide care to children of essential workers. Spread the word about this effort and contribute if you are able. For more information click onto throughthenightfilm.com
This doc is a reminder that children make you feel younger and that fostering their upbringing by any means necessary give true meaning to ‘essential worker’ in one of the most challenging chapters of world history. #careforcaregivers