All month long, I’ve written and posted about love. I’ve touched on romantic love, self-love, and the love between mothers and daughters and grandmothers and granddaughters. I’ve talked about our Father’s love more than once. What I haven’t mentioned is the love between a daughter and her father, a love which I happen to think transcends all other types of earthly love as a reflection of the love between a daughter and Our Father.
Pope John Paul II said, “In revealing and in reliving on earth the very fatherhood of God, a man is called upon to ensure the harmonious and united development of all the members of the family.” How true that is.
It took my parents several years to have me. Just as they were in the throes of adoption, I gave them the surprise they’d been praying for. By then, my father, at thirty-three, was a little older than most first-time fathers of the time. Of course, I didn’t realize this until much later in life; but now I am reminded every day how truly blessed I am to still have him with us at eighty-four (eighty-five in April).
Growing up, my father was loved and adored by everyone, which was no surprise as he was always a kid at heart, and he has a heart the size of a mountain.
I’ll never forget the Halloweens when Dad would hide behind the very large tree in our front yard and jump out at the trick-or-treaters as they walked by. I’ll always remember the horrible jokes he told around the table whether there was company present or not. I fondly recall how he and his best friends called each other names and joked and kidded like teenagers. Dad always had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. Not much has changed.
I’ve always been very close to my mom. She’s my absolute best friend. But most of the time, it was my dad to whom I turned for advice. All the hard questions one faces when growing up seemed no match to dad’s intelligence and the thoughtful attention he gave to me and my brothers when we needed him. That still holds true today. I often call or text with questions for which I know he will give me the best and truest answers. Dad holds nothing back, and he’s both stern and caring when he tells us what he thinks. My brothers and I might not always agree with him, but we always listen.
In the Bible Study, Clothed in Dignity and Strength, I wrote:
On my wedding day, my father took the time before he walked me down the aisle, to tell me something I have never forgotten. Instead of saying, be kind to your husband, or be a good mother, or never go to bed angry, or any number of other pieces of advice he could have given me, my father said this, “As a mother, it is up to you to pass along your faith to your children, and as a wife, it is up to you to make sure your husband attends Mass every Sunday and remains faithful to the Church.”Clothed in Dignity and Strength, Amy Schisler 2021
I wrote that, like Mary, I kept these words and pondered them in my heart. I truly believe that it was my father’s words that kept me faithful and inspired me to raise children who are faithful to the Church. Dad’s simple piece of advice on my wedding day has led me here, to where I am today, as a writer of faith-based fiction and spreader of the faith.
Dad taught me how to be self-sufficient and practical–I wasn’t allowed to drive a car until I could demonstrate that I could change a tire and check the oil. He taught me to work hard and play harder. My father taught me how to make my bed (and you can still bounce a quarter on it). He taught me to say you’re sorry, accept forgiveness, and to forgive. He taught me to always go to church every Sunday no matter where you are or what you’re doing. What he taught me most was to always show your love.
I still remember a time, and I’m guessing this was a good forty or forty-five years ago, when I read a card that my father had given to my mother. It might have been their anniversary, or her birthday, or Valentine’s Day. I don’t remember the day or the year or the occasion. I don’t remember what the card looked like or what it said. What I do remember is that it was signed, very simply, Lots. Confused, I looked to my dad and asked what that meant. He told me that he always signed his cards to my mother that way because he always wants her to know that he doesn’t just love her, he loves her lots.
The cards Dad gives to me are simply signed, Love, Dad. He doesn’t send them for my birthday or Christmas or random times during the year. Dad doesn’t shop for my presents or send me gifts. However, not a Valentine’s Day has gone by, ever, in my entire life, when Dad didn’t give or send me a card and a box of chocolates.
A few years ago, we visited my parents on Valentine’s Day, and Dad asked me to go to garage with him so he could show me something. My dad makes outdoor furniture of the highest quality. You just can’t compare these to the junk you buy at the store these days. It was no surprise to walk into Dad’s garage and find a beautiful rocking chair sitting in the middle of the room. What was a surprise was to see that it had a giant red bow on it, and sitting on the seat was a card and a box of chocolates. It took me a moment to understand that the chair was for me, my favorite of all his designs that I gushed over every time I saw him making one.
I don’t know if my father knows how much it means to me–this beautiful act of remembrance and love that he shows me every year. I know that one day, there will come a Valentine’s Day when there won’t be a card in the mail or a box of chocolates or a special gift. There will come a day when I won’t have my dad to turn to for advice or ask for a favor. Someday, I will wake up and not be able to call or text or visit the first man I ever loved. There will be a consolation for me, though, packed away inside the hope chest that my grandfather made and my father lovingly restored as wedding gift to me. When I miss my father and am longing to hear his voice or feel his love, I will be able to open that hope chest, pull out the simple plastic bin inside, and see how much he always wanted me to know that he loves me. Lots.
“The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.”
– Antoine François Prévost
Come see Amy on one of these dates:
March 9, 2022 – Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, Wayne, PA 7:00PM, Online – Lenten Reflection
April 9, 2022 – First Landing Wine and Arts Festival, St. Clement’s Island Museum, Clements, MD
June 4, 2022 – Christ Church 350th Anniversary Fair, Broomes Island, MD
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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. The Good Wine, the sequel to Whispering Vines was released in June of 2021. 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 chapter book is The Greatest Gift, and her most recent suspense novel is Summer’s Squall.
Amy’s second book in the Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Promise, was 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 in Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019. Amy’s book, Desert Fire, Mountain Rain begins her new Buffalo Springs series. Book two, Under the Summer Moon, was released in December of 2021.
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), The Good Wine (2021), Under the Summer Moon (2021).