We just ended an awesome vacation. My husband, two of our daughters, and I spent eight nights in Puerto Rico, and we fit so much into that time, including a lot of much-needed downtime. We ate amazing food, drank $5 mojitos and margaritas, zip lined and waterfall rappelled in the rain forest, kayaked in the world’s largest bioluminescent bay, explored caves and beaches, all read numerous books, and were blessed to have time to just be. It was absolutely perfect, except for one small detail.
I rarely had the opportunity to stop and call my mom.
Yes, you read that right. I only spoke to my mother twice during the entire trip. And while many of you may find that normal or think that even speaking twice was excessive, you have to understand my relationship with my mother.
I am blessed to say that my mother is my best friend.
Hands down, no competition, no exaggeration.
When something really great happens, I call my mom.
When something tragic happens, I call my mom.
When I need advice or a suggestion or reassurance, I call my mom.
Lessons and Blessings
In the age before helicopter parenting and, even worse, lawnmower parenting, kids had to learn to do things on their own. I mean, would you believe that I actually had a house key at the age of eleven in order to let my brothers and myself into our house if our mom wasn’t home? I also had to do my homework on my own, write my own papers, help with dinner and the dishes and other household chores, do my laundry, and entertain myself when Mom was busy.
I mean, what’s up with all that? How could I possibly have developed a loving, nurturing relationship with a mother who actually made me work and babysit my brothers and help cook dinner? She even made me get a job as soon as I could drive! By today’s standards, I was practically Cinderella.
Then again, I was blessed. I learned to cook and clean and be responsible for my own words and actions. If I was having trouble in school or with a teacher or my boss, my parents expected me to work it out. I had to study harder or seek after school help or – Gulp – talk to the teacher or boss about it! I had to do my best, and I had to answer for myself if I dnd’t.
If a button came off one of my blouses, I knew how to sew it back on. If I had a stain on my sweater, I knew how to treat it. If I wanted cookies or brownies, I knew how to bake them. When I went away to college, I was horrified to find that many of my classmates had no idea how to use a washing machine!
If there was anything I needed to know–from balancing my checkbook to changing my oil–my parents made sure I knew how to do it. And while Dad taught me a lot, I gleaned the best of my knowledge from Mom. That goes for things like mending and cooking but more importantly, for things like being a friend, a neighbor, and a citizen.
I watched my mom as chair the church bazaar, president of the PTA, president of the local Cancer Society, owner of her own antique business, campaign manager for a congressional campaign, preschool teacher, government worker, school manager, college student, a room mother, and a newspaper writer. I saw her interactions with others, learned about her causes and beliefs, and witnessed her deep faith. I saw how she lovingly cared for ailing relatives and friends, baked cakes for funerals, and planned weddings. I saw her cry when she felt unappreciated and laugh when she felt blessed with joy.
I still remember going on road trips with my mom and her girlfriends. I was the oldest, by far, of all the kids in her circle, and often the only girl. Rather than leave me behind, I was privileged–no, I was blessed–to go along as one of the gang. There was no Mrs. Brown or Miss Judy. To me, they were Debbie and Judy and Shannon. They were Mom’s friends, but I was allowed to be one of them, and by one of them, I mean a friend to everyone, including Mom. As I got older, I spent a good deal of time doing things with Mom and her friends, and I still do.
After I had children of my own, Mom and I would sneak away for long weekends for just the two of us. On some of those nights, we talked and laughed for so long and hard into the night, it was like being on a sleepover with my 10-year-old best friend. One of my all-time favorite memories is our week in Ireland together. Oh, to go back and do it all over again!
Growing up, I wanted to a teacher, a lawyer, a librarian, a writer. But most of all, I wanted to be my Mom. I wanted to be and do all the things she did. I wanted to have a career and do something I love and be married and raise kids and enjoy life, and I knew I could do all of that because Mom told me I could. She shared with me her regrets, her triumphs, and the many life lessons she learned along the way. She always reminded me that I was blessed with a good life and to never forget that.
Several years ago, I decided to quit my job to become a full-time writer. It was my mother who read every word I wrote, who offered her advice, who praised the good and tore up the wretched. Through every step of the process, she was there, is still there, editing every word from beginning to end. She is my best advocate, harshest critic, and biggest supporter. Without her encouragement and advice, especially without her example, I would not be a writer today.
When I had my three girls, I prayed that I would be half the mother to them that my mother has been to me. I still pray for that. I pray that I have taught them all that my mom taught me, that I have loved them as deeply as she loves men, that I have shown them how blessed they are, and that I can be the best friend to them that she has always been to me.
There is a scene in the series, The Chosen, when Jesus and His disciples are on their way to the wedding at Cana. Jesus tells His followers that “The most important and powerful person I know will be there – my mother.” Oh, how I can relate to those beautiful words. My mother is the most powerful and important person in our family, in my life, and we all know it. That belief has been instilled in me and my brothers throughout our entire lives by my father and by our own witness. For, “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” (Proverbs 31:28).
Today, is August 10. It’s the most special day in the world, a day beyond compare. On this day in 1943, God said, “I’m gong to create a blessed angel who walks the floor of the earth instead of the clouds of Heaven, and some day, I’m going to create for her someone to mold in her image, someone who will be her best friend.”
Today is the birthday of my best friend. Today, I say, Happy birthday, Mom. I love you and am blessed to be your daughter. Signed, Your Best Friend.
Come see Amy on one of these dates:
September 17, 2022 – Daylesford Abbey, Paoli, PA 12 Noon-8pm
The event is a festival atmosphere featuring amazing music, Catholic and Christian vendors, the presence of Religious orders, food trucks, family and kid-friendly activities and games. Tickets available.
October 15 and 16, 2022 – St Mary’s County Fairgrounds, Leonardtown, MD
Amy will be signing and selling books at the festival. All ages are welcome for a day of sun and seafood! See event website for more details.
October 29, 2022 – Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD
Amy will be signing and selling books at the festival. The event features live music on two stages, boat rides, retriever demonstrations, oysters and other local fare, an oyster stew competition and cooking demonstrations, along with children’s activities, oyster demonstrations, harvesting displays and Chesapeake-related documentary screenings. More details coming soon.
Write What You Know Writer’s Workshop
November 19, 2022 – Time TBA – Leonardtown Library, Leonardtown, MD
Amy will be giving a workshop for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). She will talk about how to write a more authentic and readable novel by writing about what you know – the people, places, and events that have shaped your own life. More details coming soon.
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What I was writing about one year ago this week: Learning to Rest.
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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 new book, Seeking Tranquility, was released on June 15, 2022. Buy your copy now!
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), Seeking Tranquility (2022).