“I was just thinking about the people who are all by themselves,” she said of the experience that’s become common across the globe. “I’ve got to tell you, my mom is staying so positive. She’s by herself at home, but she’s like, ‘Hey, look, I’m outside at the water!’
"Like she’s by herself taking selfies, and there’s nobody around her. She talks about how beautiful the water is. She says she brings her coffee with her in the mug I gave her, and she’ll take a picture of it.”
It’s easy to see where Hoda inherited her positive outlook from.
She and her mother, Sami, are used to seeing each other frequently with real face-to-face time at least every month. But until they can have that again, they settle for FaceTime on their phones.
“For my mom, we try to FaceTime,” she said, adding that her oldest daughter, Haley Joy, gets in on the act, too. “Haley can take the phone and go running down the hall, and my mom’s just tickled pink. She’s just happy to have her like that.”
Still, as helpful as the video calls are, the physical absence is felt.
“My mom is such an important part of our lives,” Hoda told co-host Jenna Bush Hager. “It’s underscored in this moment.”
As she imagines it is for so many other adult children separated from their parents right now.
“If you’re one of those people who called your parents, like, once every two weeks or visited every six months, I think we kind of understand (now) what it felt like to be them — to be by yourself and not to have people checking in and visiting and calling all the time,” she added. “I think it’s kind of waking us up.”
And it’s emphasizing the importance of any contact, even when it’s less than ideal.
“It’s like we’ve got to make sure that we are always in close touch,” she said.
Hoda also mentioned her mom saw her interview with Olympian Simone Biles, and Simone explained her mom leaves home-cooked meals for her at the end of her driveway during this time of social distancing.
"My mom just wrote me a text," Hoda said before getting a little bit emotional. "It's so funny. She goes, 'I was watching Simone and what a great idea. I think I'm going to do that for Hannah and Ella. I'll make them a meal, and I'll leave it on the corner.'"