Author Archives: Emma Schmitz

The Healing Powers of Joyful Distraction

As I write this, my parents, Diana and Jack, are likely hearing muffled morning sounds from the guest room down the hall. Hard whispers from 4-year-old Jack, tired groans from 2-year-old Maeve, and gurgles or squeaks cutting through the golden light from Gavin the newborn. I know my parents are…

Testing Out a New Lung at High Elevations

The moment my parents, Diana and Jack, were in the clear two weeks after their second COVID-19 vaccine, they hopped on a plane to see their three grandchildren in Illinois. This was about a month shy of my mom’s one-year lung transplant anniversary. Their trip was everything they had…

Balancing the Rituals of Risk Management

I was born into a risk management family. My parents built a mom and pop insurance agency into a regional empire, and now my brother and I are deep in it, too. This works because my personality is naturally cautious. I don’t go on solo mountain bike rides longer…

I Miss Giving My Mom the Gift of a Good Hug

I don’t know if humans will recover from this pandemic: the lack of touch, the resocializing to keep our distance, the physical isolation. I have dreams where I’m in groups of happy people touching … and those dreams are actually nightmares. My mom is a hugger.

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