What a difference a year makes! Last Mother’s Day, I cried most of the day. I had not seen my mother since Christmas, and I’m used to seeing her a few times a month. It was even harder because my brothers live close to my parents and were able to stop by, but I am two hours away. I knew that others had it worse than I did, and there are some who are just now seeing their families for the first time in over a year, so I count myself among the very blessed. However, I’m still the happiest girl in the world that I got to spend Mother’s Day this year with my mom, the most special person on earth.
I know, you’re all thinking, my mom is the most special person on earth, and I bet you’re all right.
Mothers teach us so much…
My mother taught me from an early age what love means. She sacrificed for us in many ways–giving up her job to stay home; working a few hours a week to pay for us to go to Catholic school; spending her days doing laundry, cooking meals, and helping with homework. She never complained and was always there when we needed advice, an encouraging word, or just a hug.
My mother always tried to make each of us feel special. Among my favorite childhood memories were my slick days. Twice a year, my mother would appear in my doorway and say, “Don’t put on your uniform today. You’re calling in slick.” Then we’d drop off my brothers at school and spend the day at the mall, complete with lunch out at some fabulous eatery like Roy Rogers! Oh, how easy it was to please kids back then!
Mom was the consummate volunteer. She was president of the PTA, chair of the parish and school bazaar/carnival, room mother, and whatever else was needed. They say that if you want something done right, ask a busy person to do it. That was mom. But her activities never interfered with her role as our mother. On the contrary, everything she did, she did for us. She was at every class party, on every field trip, and at every baseball game, dance recital, and band concert (God bless her for making it through those awful elementary school concerts with a smile on her face). She never sought attention, but all that she did for others didn’t go unnoticed. Even the famous radio host, Paul Harvey, knew of all that she did for others.
Though her life revolved around us, Mom always took time for herself, especially time with friends. She had a group of women with whom she did everything. They ran a preschool together, chaired many events together, and got together as often as possible. Most of the time, the kids were included. Someone would host a lunch and swimming or an afternoon on a slip-n-slide or waterslide (remember the waterslide, Scott? Sorry, sore subject, no pun intended. His tooth reattached just fine). But there were weekends that were just for the girls, and since I was the only teenaged girl among the kids, I was often invited along. On those trips, the other moms insisted I call them by name, and I was treated as one of the gals, not a tagalong kid. I loved being a part of that and getting a small glimpse into the adult world with kind, caring, God-loving women.
Our family life wasn’t always easy, but truthfully, we kids had no idea. With Mom at home most of the time, and all of us in private school, money was scarce, but we never knew it. Our vacations were business trips with my father, and that was fine. We visited places like Williamsburg; Boston; Long Island, New York; Roanoke, Virginia; and Dover, New Hampshire. We thought all those places were premier vacation destinations. They all seemed so far from home, after hours in the car, and so exotic! We were the luckiest kids in the world. Who needs Disney when you could spend the afternoon at the Budweiser Plant petting clydesdales? Truthfully, I never even knew anybody who went to Disney World, so that wasn’t even a dream trip for me. I think we were all content with Sunday night’s viewings of The Wonderful World of Disney because our mom always made those nights out to be special.
In fact, Mom made everything we did out to be special. A trip to the strawberry patch was treated like a trip to the moon. A day swimming at the county pool was better than a day at the beach. Picnics in the park were the highlight of every week in the summer.
Mom had, and still has, a way of making every day seem like a gift and every get-together feel like an orchestrated event. Unlike most families with formal dining rooms that work as store rooms or dust collectors, Mom always had an excuse for us to eat at the dining room table and use “the good china.”
When we were very little, there was a commercial in which the tagline was, “So, this is the dining room?” I know we all remember the night my youngest brother, maybe six or seven at the time, looked around after dinner and said those words. We were in stitches because of the way he nailed the tone and inflection of the words, but I think the real reason it was so funny was because we ate in the dining room a lot. Not every night, but every time we had guests, every birthday, every holiday, and any other reason Mom found to celebrate. It made us feel special because she wanted us to know that we were special, that what we did mattered. Straight As? Dinner in the dining room. Cast off the arm? Dinner in the dining room. A friend over for the first time? Dinner in the dining room. Not to show off but because Mom wanted everyone to know that they were special.
For a few weeks now, I’ve alluded to a special project that I’m working on. I know that it’s partly because of my mom that I have the courage to venture into the unknown and to follow my heart. I spent all of Holy Week praying for God to show me the way to use my talents to serve Him, and you know what? My mother was praying the same prayer, and I didn’t know it. When I became convinced that God wants me to turn to non-fiction to write and develop a Catholic-faith-based study of the women of the Bible, my mother immediately said, “It’s exactly the right project for you.”
While writing this study, I’m encountering many fascinating women. I’ve read about their lives and the things they did, and I’ve written down the accounts and what they’re meant to teach us and how they’re meant to help us. The biggest thing I’ve discovered is that all the women, no matter who they were or what their background was, lead us to Mary. And I think that’s what is so special about my own mom. She is what I envision Mary to have been–a strong, loving, compassionate, faith-filled woman who put her trust completely in God and followed His will. That’s what I’ve seen my mother do throughout my life, and she instilled that same faith and trust in me. Without her, I could not have done any of the things I’ve done in my life.
A little over a week ago, I helped a dear childhood friend, someone I’ve remained close to for over forty years, clean out her mother’s house. In every room, we encountered memories that made us laugh and cry. We talked about our childhood and things we did growing up, and I thought over and over about the impact that our mothers made on our lives. It seems to me that the more our mothers resemble the mother of Jesus, the more special our lives are. My friend’s mother and my mother are prime examples of that, and we were both blessed to have them in our lives.
Though Mother’s Day 2021 is over, we should never stop honoring our mothers. They sacrificed so much for us and taught us immeasurable lessons through their words and actions. My mother will never be written about in Scripture, but I know that she is a living saint. She may not be the mother of God, but she is blessed among women, and I am blessed to be her daughter.
My next book, The Good Wine, will be available on July 1, 2021 and is available for pre-order! More retailers are being added daily, so keep checking your favorite bookseller to see when you can order your copy. In-person special event launches as well as an online event are being scheduled. Subscribe to my Newsletter to get updates.
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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, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.
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), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019), A Devotional Alphabet (2019), Desert Fire, Mountain Rain(2020).