Any day now, possibly by the time this goes to print, I will be a grandmother. For the past nine months, I have marveled at how I could be a grandmother already. It seems too soon. I’m excited, but I don’t feel ready. I don’t have enough life experience yet. I’m still busy screwing up my children’s lives! I still make parenting mistakes all the time. How can I help my daughter navigate her own life as a new mother?
I was lying in bed last night, unable to put my mind to rest, when I thought, I don’t know how to do this yet. My mother and grandmother were so good at it, so perfect, and I’m so much younger than they were when they took on this role.
Then reality hit as I did the math…
With the Aged is Wisdom (Job 12:20)
I will be, perhaps to the day, the exact same age my mother was when I had Rebecca.
How did she do it? How did she know exactly what to do and what to say all the time? How did she know exactly what I needed when I needed it? Those first two weeks of motherhood were so wonderful, so easy for me, because she was there. When I didn’t know how to do something, she did. She had all the answers. And when she left, her mother arrived and took over.
Thinking about my Gram had me doing the math again (not something I’m fond of, especially when trying to fall asleep at night). When my grandmother was bestowed that title, she beat my mother and me by three years! Yet throughout my life, I knew of nobody smarter, braver, or more capable than she. I learned so much from her and spent all my extra time at her house from my infancy. How did she get to be so knowledgable at such a young age?
I’ve often written about my grandmother’s faith, the ways that I’m like her and the ways I want to be like her, as well as the things I admired about her. She was my rock for so many years and in my eyes, the perfect grandmother. After I was married, we spoke almost every day. Our bond was the kind they write about in books and portray in movies (I did that in The Devil’s Fortune). How could I possibly be to my grandchild all that she was to me? How did she know everything about being a grandmother from the minute I was born?
When my middle daughter, Katie Ann, was two weeks old, she developed colic. It was awful. I felt so helpless. Without a word, my mother always knew when I felt defeated, when I didn’t know how to give my daughter or even myself what was needed. She would come into the room, take Katie Ann from my arms and lead me to bed. When she was gone, my grandmother picked right up where Mom left off. I could not have survived those weeks without them.
Honestly, I felt like I missed something. After all, Ken and I have had childbirth classes and hospital visits teaching us what to expect. Where was my class? What class did my mother and grandmother take?
How Much Better to Get Wisdom Than Gold (Proverbs 16:16)
I laid there with thoughts racing through my head. I had this great fear that I won’t be able to live up to the expectations of a grandparent. I wondered, how will I know when to speak and when to keep quiet (NOT my strong suit), when to jump in and help and when to observe, or when to teach and when to learn?
It was overwhelming. Until I returned to the math.
Somehow, my mother and my grandmother knew. They just knew.
Even though they were just 52 and 49, they jumped in and took on the role like they were born to do it, and I guess that’s the key. We were created to be parents and grandparents. Even those who don’t have children of their own have maternal instincts. We women know how to love and nurture and help others. It’s part of our feminine genius. “Emphasis should be placed on the “genius of women”, not only by considering great and famous women of the past or present, but also those ordinary women who reveal the gift of their womanhood by placing themselves at the service of others in their everyday lives” (Saint Pope John Paul II, Letter of Pope John Paul II to Women).
The more we do and live for others, the more those traits become ingrained in us, and the wiser we become. For, “To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness” (Ecclesiastes 2:26). Doing for others increases our wisdom, our knowledge, and our happiness! Isn’t this what being a mother and grandmother is all about?
It occurred to me that there were certainly times when my mother or grandmother didn’t know what to do. How many times as a mother have I been completely clueless (um, at least once a day, every day)? I’m sure, at those times, they did exactly what I do. Of course, they prayed. I’m sure they knew well the verse, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).
Thankfully, if I don’t know how or where to tread, my mother is nearby to share her wisdom. I’m not in this alone. I don’t have to be perfect. The biggest lesson I learned from my grandmother and have observed through my mother is this: you don’t have to do anything special or be perfect or have all the answers. Just love with all your heart, and your grandchildren will love you back with all their hearts.
I know that I am blessed to be entering this next phase and to be taking on this new role. I will do my best to honor the legacy of my mother and grandmother.
“Children’s children are a crown to the aged.”Proverbs 17:6
I will wear my crown with great joy.
Come See Amy This Fall
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 12, 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.
November 19, 10am-4pm & November 20 10am-3pm – Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD
Amy will be selling and signing her books at the annual event just in time for Christmas! The Festival will feature artisans from around the country selling coastal and sea-glass related jewelry, home décor, art, and more. The two-day festival ticket includes entrance to the festival, live music, and all the exhibitions and historic structures on the campus of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
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What I was writing about one year ago this week: That Ragged Old Flag.
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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).