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  • Writer's pictureSimone de Muñoz

Connecting after Omicron

“Mom, did you Shelley?” asked my son when I told him I met a neighbor when out walking my dog and got her phone number. Shelley is my mom and the family joke is that the CIA should hire her to interrogate people because she can talk to someone for 3 minutes and learn their entire life story plus that of all their family members.

Yes, I admitted, I did Shelley. I met a woman out walking her dogs and found out her age, her profession, the number of children she had, and her deepest hopes and dreams. Something about the winding down of this pandemic is pushing me to connect with people in a variety of ways. I texted the neighbor and we went for a walk with kids and dogs, well on our way to becoming friends.

I’ve also thought not just about my own connections, but those of my children. The opportunity arose for my 10-year-old son to spend one-on-one time with my dad and I seized it, despite my fear and uncertainty. My dad drove him to a weekend ski event 5 hours away up in a mountain with poor cell phone reception where I wouldn’t be able to check in on them. I feared that my dad, reluctant to use phone navigation, would get lost. Or that, a type two diabetic, he would fail to manage his blood sugar appropriately and pass out. But they survived and enjoyed their weekend together, despite burst pipes meaning no showers, and forged a new bond over a love of pizza that neither one of them should be eating⁠—my admonishment for the young athlete to eat healthy food fell on two sets of temporarily deaf ears.

In my new role at work, I spend a lot of time thinking about forming relationships in the community. I’m the Development Director at a nonprofit providing safety net services in Silicon Valley and am constantly on the lookout for ways to connect those with resources and an interest in helping others with the work we are doing. When Omicron was at its peak, I made the decision to plan an outdoor fundraising event in April, the first in-person event in over two years. I heard from countless supporters that they were craving connection. I hope the fundraiser provides one such opportunity.

I’m curious what other people are doing, now that things are safer pandemic-wise, to connect? Reach out and let me know.

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