My kids stood by in anticipation while the familiar sound of the FaceTime dial rang through the kitchen. 

My mom—with her wet-from-her-morning-shower hair and coffee steam rising onto her face—answered with joy.

“Good morning, everybody!” she said.

“NANAAAA!” the kids screamed in unison, bringing an even bigger smile to her face. “Where’s Papa?” my son asked immediately . . . knowing that it’s a rare occasion that the kids talk to one grandparent without the other one in the screen, too.

“He’s right here, hold on one second,” she said as she moved her chair around the kitchen table to where my dad was sitting with his typical seat across from her with his own morning brew and the local paper.

“PAPAAAAA!” the kids screamed when he came into view.

RELATED: To the Grandparents in Our Life, We Couldn’t Do This Without You

The usual commotion ensued as each kid tried to get in their update. My 8-year-old daughter negotiated her way to holding the phone so she could show a drawing she had done. Off to the side, my son jumped around waiting for his turn to show them the character he had created on his video game to look like Papa. Our preschooler proudly shared how she’s been washing her hands like she’s supposed to.

My mom and dad—in full grandparent mode—matched their excitement over each of their announcements.  

It’s a scene that always makes me smile. Watching my parents feel the joy of being grandparents . . . and seeing my kids adore them in return the way that I adored mine . . . is one of my life’s greatest blessings.

Eventually, the lovefest started to fade as the fighting over the phone on our side of the connection began, so I interrupted the chaos.

“Alright, kiddos, it’s Mommy’s turn to talk,” I said as I took the phone and turned the screen to make sure they were all in view. “What do you say to Nana and Papa?” I asked them.

“We love you!” one said. “We miss you!” screamed another. “BYEEEEE!” yelled another as he did his 1,253th jump off the couch for the day.

I turned the screen back and both of them went from grandparent mode to being my mom and dad.

“So how are YOU doing with all of this?” they asked.

I went through all the things: the anxiety and the fear combined with the perspective and positivity . . . and the way that I was trying to take this “new normal” head-on with a day-by-day approach of focusing on what I COULD control.

What I didn’t share with them was how I couldn’t shake how I was feeling about THEM.

How I was worried. About their health. About keeping them safe. About them FEELING safe.

RELATED: Dear Mom and Dad, It’s Our Turn Now

But just as much, I was feeling overwhelmingly sad thinking about when I would be able to hug them again. When I’d be able to see my kids sprint to the door to greet them when they made the 1.5-hour trip to see us. When I’d be able to drive up to my childhood home and sit with my parents at our kitchen table while the kids played hide and seek. When I’d be able to watch my mom plant flowers with my daughter, or my dad lead a game of cards with all of us.

Even though I know that all of this is a sacrifice to keep THEM (and everyone else) safe, it was still hard on my heart.

At the end of the call, we said our I love yous and Facetime-you-laters and hung up. I set my phone down and I went over to brew my own morning coffee with my remained-unsaid words going through my thoughts. When I went to make my cup selection I saw the mug out of which my mom used to drink when I was a little kid. It’s the one that I go to when I want to feel close to home. And that day, I really needed it. 

RELATED: It’s a Tough Time to Be a Hugger

I took my first sip with tears in my eyes . . . but with a mission in my heart to remain GRATEFUL.

Grateful that I’ve learned that every interaction with them is a blessing . . . in-person or not. Grateful for technology that can make us FEEL like we’re in the same room. Grateful for sweet text messages from my mom and funny GIFs from my dad. Grateful for their current health and our family’s as well. Grateful for virtual masses we can “attend” together and discuss later. Grateful they have each other.


It’s what I’ll hold onto until we all get through this together . . . and can finally hold on to each other again.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

You should also check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Brea Schmidt

Brea Schmidt is a writer, speaker and photographer who aims to generate authentic conversation about motherhood and daily life on her blog, The Thinking Branch. Through her work, she aims to empower people to overcome their fears and insecurities and live their truth. She and her husband raise their three children in Pittsburgh, PA.

You Have to Feel before You Can Heal

In: Living
Depressed woman in bed

“Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.” -Cheryl Strayed How do you heal? You let the pain pass through you. You feel your feelings....

Keep Reading

I Didn’t Know How Much I Needed Other Mothers

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Two mom friends smiling at each other

I read somewhere the other day that when a child is born, a parent is too. In my first few months being a mother, I’m learning just how odd that sentiment is. In an instant, I became someone new. Not only that, but I became part of a group I didn’t realize existed. That sounds wrong. Of course, mothers existed. But this community of mothers? I had no idea. It took us a long time to get where we are today. Throughout our journey with infertility, I knew in my heart I was meant to be a mother. I knew that...

Keep Reading

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

Please Don’t Tell a Couple Trying to Conceive to Just Relax

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Black-and-white photo of medical supplies

This is a plea. A plea to those who know someone who is struggling with infertility. So, if you’re reading this, this is directed right to you. Please, for the love of everything, when someone tells you they are struggling to conceive, do not tell them to “just relax.” I know it’s the cliche, default term most blurt out because they don’t know what else to say. It’s awkward to discuss for some. I’m 10000% positive it is coming from a good place and is meant to be calming and reassuring, and you really do believe it’s true because a...

Keep Reading

My Husband Having a Stroke at 30 Wasn’t in Our Plans

In: Faith, Living
Husband and wife, selfie, color photo

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV) This verse in the book of Jeremiah has long been a favorite of mine. In fact, it’s felt relevant across many life events. Its simple, yet powerful reminder has been a place of solace, perhaps even a way to maintain equilibrium when I’ve felt my world spinning a bit out of control. In this season of starting fresh and new year intentions, I find great comfort in knowing...

Keep Reading

That Mom at the Playground Could Become Your Best Friend

In: Friendship, Motherhood
Young mother sitting on bench looking at playground

I didn’t realize I was that mom at the playground. That mom who always smiles at the other moms even if she doesn’t know them. That mom who often makes small talk while she pushes her toddler on the swings. That mom who strikes up a conversation while sitting on the bench watching her older kid play. That mom who can often tell whether you are interested in talking to her or not. And if you don’t seem interested, that’s okay. Because maybe you’re preoccupied with other things going on in your life right now. Maybe you’re overwhelmed with the...

Keep Reading

The Shattering Grief of Suicide

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Sad person sitting in darkened hallway, black and white image

Navigating through my second Christmas without my dad, the weight of grief seemed even heavier this year. In fact, everything felt and looked different to me. As I unwrapped the ornaments and cards he gave me over the years, a tidal wave of madness and sadness engulfed me. I know many feel sadness and grieve during these times, but let me just say . . . suicide is a different type of grief. My vibrant, happy, physically fit dad committed suicide on April 30th, 2022. There, I said it. In the aftermath, a myriad of emotions consumed me. One perplexing...

Keep Reading

“I Can’t Do This Anymore,” He Said—Then Everything Changed

In: Living, Marriage
Woman with head in hands

The questions are very much valid. Did I know when I married him? Did I know when we struggled with infertility and trying to become parents? Did I know when we unexpectedly became pregnant with our second child? When did you know your husband was an alcoholic? The answer is simple yet so complex, I pretty much knew from the first year, yet I was in complete denial. When I met him, he was just my type—a bad boy with a bad reputation, yet so cute! On our third date or so, I saw how much he could drink and how...

Keep Reading

Mean Girls Aren’t Like the Ones You See In Movies

In: Friendship
Woman whispering in another woman's ear

Mean girls aren’t like Regina George. If they were, it would be easy to know to stay away from them. Not all mean girls are wealthy, image-conscious, stick-thin blondes. They also don’t always have the reputation of being “mean girls.” The problem is that mean girls are way worse than Regina George because they don’t look like mean girls. Mean girls can be your “friends.” Mean girls know how to gain and betray your trust. They are the girls who, on a rough day, ask you what’s going on not because they care about you, but so they can have...

Keep Reading

My Husband’s in Love with a Different Woman Now

In: Living, Marriage, Motherhood
Couple standing by Christmas decorations

He’s in love with a different woman now . . . I met my husband seven years ago. We got married and went on adventures. Went to some weddings and had a bunch of kids. Every Christmas party season, we would celebrate by going out to dinner . . . except this year that one dress didn’t fit. I had my husband try to zip it, and then my mom . . . there was no budging. I had been tiny, I had been heavy—sick and healthy. My weight had been a roller coaster always. But, this special dress had always...

Keep Reading