Summer is winding down. Many of my friends have already waved goodbye at the bus stop, the school, or the dorm room. As the end of the summer approaches, I find myself reflecting over the summer, the year, the many years. I certainly don’t know everything, and I’ve got so much more to learn, but there are things that strike me as some of the things I’ve learned as a mother…
Moms have a lioness within
There is a feeling you get, in the dark of the night, when you hear a child’s cry. It doesn’t matter if the cry is caused by a night terror, a sleepwalk awakening, or an upset stomach. Every cry in the night stirs the same heart-pounding reaction. Sending your child off to the first day of kindergarten or the first day of college elicits the same reaction. No matter how much our children grow, our first instinct, as mothers, is to protect them. I often think that dads don’t quite get this. For them, protection is more primal, more focused on keeping the wolves from the door. For moms, I think it’s a different kind of urge, one that leaves us wanting to fight the enemy but then turn to our children and hold on tighter, reach out farther, and hug and kiss those fears and pains away. It’s one of the most important things we can do as mothers–just be there to love the hurt away.
You can’t always fix Everything.
Often, it isn’t what’s being said that matters. There’s a video that we show when teaching marriage preparation classes in which a couple argues over a nail in the woman’s forehead. She won’t stop complaining about the pain, and her husband just wants to rip out the nail. The woman tells him over and over that it’s not about the nail. She just wants him to listen! It’s one of the hardest lessons we can learn. We can’t solve every problem. We can’t fix everything that is broken. While I know this, I can’t stop! I want to fix everything. I want to make everything better. And I have to learn to just let it go. I never want my kids to learn something the hard way, but I know they have to. I know that sometimes, they just want me to listen. They just want to vent. They need to vent! As they get older, I am trying to remember that. Sometimes it’s not about the nail.
Adulting is hard, no matter how old you are.
My twenty-year-old tells us all the time, “Adulting is hard.” This summer, she’s been working two jobs–coaching tennis every weekday morning and two evenings while waitressing at a busy resort hotel in the evenings and every weekend. She’s had no breaks (other than to volunteer at Girl Scout Camp where she ran an intense week-long program). She’s taken no vacations, no short trips, no visits to see Grandma. She’s trying to put away some money so that she has options after her 2021 college graduation. I feel for her. Adulting IS hard! Being responsible is hard. Doing the right thing is hard. Waking up early, staying up late, being on your feet all day–they’re all hard. Sometimes even moms wants to get away from it all. I constantly have to remind myself that I have to take time away, take a break, take a breath. As much as we love our kids and love our spouses or love our jobs, our lives, our friends, we all need to take a break. Why? Because adulting is hard! And because it’s okay to step away from that role every now and then. It helps bring us back around to the joys in our lives. And it reminds those at home how much they need us.
The family table offers more than a good meal.
I’ve written before about our kitchen table. We had it custom made to match our kitchen and to accommodate our future family (God willing). It seats twelve comfortably and fourteen in a pinch. It’s been a host for large school and volunteer projects, crab feasts, craft projects, Christmas cookies, big buffet dinners, holidays gatherings, and more. It’s where we talk, laugh, share our day, and plan our night.
Most moms recognize the importance of giving our families a nourishing, filling meal that satisfies our bodies. I believe that the time spent at the kitchen table is also a time to satisfy our souls. Over family meals are most often where stories are shared, dreams are discussed, and plans are prepared. No matter how many purposes our table has, the most important one is to bring us together as a family. I pray that my kitchen table will always be a welcoming place for loved ones to gather.
Make every occasion something to celebrate
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, life is short, and I firmly feel that we should take every opportunity to celebrate it. And while I hate to pile more onto our already full plates, it’s often up to Mom to create the celebration. Don’t panic! It doesn’t have to be an engraved invitation event. It can be a family dinner around that kitchen table. It can be a quiet walk on the beach. It can be a family game night or an afternoon boat ride. The type of celebration doesn’t matter. What’s important is taking the time to be together and make everyone feel special. Whether you’re toasting a major milestone or just ticking off another year in the calendar of life, make those moments special. Your loved ones will remember that you cared enough to make something ordinary into something special.
I don’t know how history will see me as a mother. My meager offerings as a mom certainly won’t be given space in any textbooks or in writings on motherhood. In the end, though, I hope that I have given my family a happy life, a bundle of good advice, and all the love they could ever need.
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What I was writing about a year ago this week: Reminders of the Past.
Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, is based, in part, on her family history and is garnering many five star reviews.
Book Three of the Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, is now available! Order your copy today!
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018).