School is starting – if it hasn’t already – and parents and kids alike are all experiencing their own anxieties.  I know, because ours do. Whether it’s the fear of going through shutdown again, or a family member getting the highly contagious Delta variant, these past two back to school weeks have brought on so much anxiety to families with school-aged children.

With the vaccination rate still low in parts of the country, parents often ask: what can I do for my kids? And what should I do? This then escalates to lots of what-ifs and why-nots. 

While these worries are certainly warranted and perfectly reasonable (no, you’re not crazy to think that way, and no, you’re not the only one who thinks that way), I try to remind myself to come back to the present, to focus on what is truly important so I don’t get stuck in some sort of analysis paralysis. That way, I (hopefully) won’t be too scared or lose sleep over it.

A friend of mine texted me the other day, “Am I crazy to fear that we may have to go through shut-down again?” The anxiety is real, because none of us want to go back to 2020 where we were isolated 24/7 for months on end. It took a toll on our bodies and minds, and it took a toll on our children.  But looking forward, I do feel that there is lots to be optimistic about.

Here are my reasons:
    1. We know so much more about the virus than we did 16 months ago.  We know masks help. We know vaccinations help. We know that most immunocompromised and elderly folks are vaccinated.  All this helps with the community spread of the virus. Taking a step back and being rational, we actually have a lot of knowledge about how to prevent severe illness caused by Covid-19—much different than last year when we all had a quarantine area for our Amazon packages.
    2. In some states (California for instance, where Piper+Enza is based) ,the government is mandating vaccination or weekly tasting for all school employees. This is the most important step in keeping our kiddos safe when they’re at school. This gives me a piece of mind.
    3. We’re not shutting down, yet. Why not cross the bridge when we get there? I constantly remind myself to enjoy every moment while we have it, instead of focusing on the what-ifs.  This has helped me to refocus and eased my anxiety.
    4. I have done it once, and if need be, however difficult, I know I can do it again.  What’s different this time is, I know what I would do differently. I would have a conversation with my spouse and my immediate support system on what worked and what didn’t; what I need as a person, as a parent, and really have a heart-to-heart talk with my partner on their needs as well. I have a chance right now to make a plan, to talk it out without the immediate pressure of lockdown.  Right now is the opportunity to look back and figure out how we can do it better if there IS a next time around. Hindsight is 20-20—let’s harness that with hope that we may never need it. (*fingers crossed)

We are resilient. We can do hard things. We can prepare, and be prepared.  I often repeated to myself last year, “this too shall pass.” And this will pass.  Let’s all focus on the light at the end of that tunnel. We can do this.

Sending you love and peace, 

Rita Bezzola

Rita Ho-Bezzola is the founder and chief wheel spinner at Piper + Enza.