Happy Mother's Day...

I try not to put too much pressure on myself when it comes to my blog. Since I don't get paid to do it, I have no sponsors, and no empire rises or falls on what I write, I shouldn't worry too much about each post. Right?

Wrong. For while my typical fare is written for no audience in particular (just those who enjoy my babblings, I guess), there happens to be a special holiday today that has created a very unique sense of panic within me as I struggle try to find exactly the right words.

"Good grief, Ashley... it's just Mother's Day!", you say. "Your mom will be happy to get a card and the present you got her (which is great, by the way)," you say. "Your mom will love whatever you write," you say.

Do you know my mother?

Here's the thing... I spend a large portion of my time mocking my mom in various ways. Don't worry- it's not secret. We're very open and above-board regarding these matters. It's never with cruel intentions that I make fun of her, just light-hearted teasing to point out the many quirks trademarks for which she is famous. (Boisterous laughter, ability to converse with total strangers, tears at the end of nearly every animated movie, sappy FB posts, etc. Hey, I feel like she's in the room!) And if this post isn't JUST RIGHT... she'll get the whole wobbly chin thing going and, just like that...

So, on this one day devoted entirely to praising our mothers, I am drawing a blank not sure what to say. After all, I so often make it a point to give her a hard time, so how to do I do a paradigm shift and talk about her wonderful qualities? Ah... I can't promise I'll make a habit of it, but at least annually, I'll give it a go. And I'll try to limit myself to a few paragraphs (though it would take an encyclopedia to truly describe my mother to you, as anyone who knows her could agree.) 

A lady told me recently, "You remind me of your mom!" After I laughed heartily, I started thinking about the implications of that statement. Oh no! Did someone catch me laughing at a joke ten minutes after it was delivered? Did I shed tears over a Hallmark commercial? Did I do the most horrible parking job in the universe? (Okay, that we have in common.)

But if I really am like my mom, or at least becoming like her, I realize that, frighteningly, I have big shoes to fill. (Literally, she's a size bigger than me!) Really, though... 

-I will have to be willing to do just about anything for a church member, at any time. Babysitting, counseling, shopping, cooking, transportation, etc... she has done it all. Sometimes I, in my selfishness, am puzzled by the way she gives to people, many whom never return the favor. But she always dismisses my questions with the response that it's just the right thing to do. I'll have to work on this one if I'm going to "be like her." 

I remember when I was in high school and my mom invited a few college girls over for lunch. Somehow, her invitation for a "few" got lost in translation and about 30 girls showed up. I was not happy to be sharing our Sunday roast with all these loud, giggly college girls. (I was not a very hospitable child!) As they kept coming (and coming... and coming...) I wailed to Mom in indignation, "They're eating all the roast!" (Apparently I was pretty hung up on the roast.) My mom just said that it would be okay and she would make it up to me. I was probably placated by a Mountain Dew or something. But I will never forget how she multiplied that meal to feed everyone and was happy to do it. I didn't understand it then (and honestly... still don't feel like I could do it now) but she just wanted to help those girls, so she did. I should be more like that. 

But come near my roast and you'll lose a hand, I promise. 

-I will have to get over looking crazy in order to be a fun mom. (I'm not one who's big on costumes, silliness, etc., at least in public.) The first time I remember my mom doing something like this was when I was in probably the third grade. She came and picked up me, my sisters, and my cousins from school and took us to Dairy Queen for ice cream. But she was dressed as a CLOWN. (Seriously, full clown suit, hat, big shoes,  red nose... the whole shebang.) While my sister and cousin (a lofty 13 at the time) refused to get out of the car, I remember thinking it was the coolest thing in the world. Costumes to follow would include a bag lady at the airport, a Middle Easterner at the airport (bad idea, Gigi), some weirdo at the airport (holding a sign that said Free Michael Jackson), a bird watcher for a ladies meeting (that one was a doozy) and most recently, a Who from Whoville the last Christmas I came home from college. 
It may take a few years for me to adapt to this one. But in the spirit of being fun, I shall try. ( Well... maybe not.)

- I will have to learn the lesson of "loving people where they're at." I don't remember how many times I've heard her say this. "Did you see what that lady had on?" Love people where they're at. "Why does he live that way?" Love people where they're at. "Their kids are awful!" Love people where they're at. (That was what people said about the pastor's family. Hehe) I have to admit I'm not very good at this. I'm more quick to jump to conclusions, rather than forgive or be made aware of someone's situation. But I need to remember my mom's words, "Love people where they're at." I think of our church in Washington, where my hick Southern mom with her perm and thick accent loved and mentored those very opinionated, Northwest-to-the-core ladies by loving them and their families where they were at. (We always wished she was as patient with us as she was new converts... but we didn't have the gift of ignorance. =) 

- I will have high expectations for my children. Unlike many parents today, who constantly heap praise on their children without demanding very much, my mom, who did praise us, had very specific ideas of how we should be. Piano practice, studying, reading, and devotions were not optional... they were required. I was in junior high before I realized that other parents were actually HAPPY with a B report card. (Imagine that!) 

My mom would have been a great Chinese parent.

But seriously, my mom (and dad) demanded our best and, yes, praised us when we gave it. But they were honest and BALANCED... and we were not made to think we were God's gift to humanity for making good grades or singing to playing an instrument. As mom would say, it was our "reasonable service." I hope I remember that when I have kids.

-If I'm really going to be like my mom, I am going to be crazy. Let's just accept the fact... Gigi is crazy. I remember being very young and thinking that my mom was not like other moms... she would be the one to suggest going to teepee someone's house late at night. She was the one making the silly jokes, or striking up a conversation with anyone within hearing distance, or bouncing around in front of 70 kids to play a game. She was the ladies speaker who'd come in wearing a costume, or teaching a corny song, or talking about the stuff everyone was really thinking. (Sounds familiar!) In fact, I sometimes think I became sarcastic as a kid just to be an antithesis to her... which I would say worked out pretty well.

Thanks, Mom. Your dysfunction made me funny.

On this Mother's Day, I am faced with the reality that I am becoming like my mother as the world's end approaches time goes on. And if there is a funny, caring, loving, beautiful (I have good aging to look forward to, that's for sure- doesn't she look great at 50?), and, yes cool- person to become, I'm glad it's her. She's a big bottle of crazy sauce, but that's why we love her! No matter what happens, she is there for me and my sisters, giving us unheeded lots of advice, wisdom, spoiling us and our families, and just being pretty wonderful in general. We love her!

How'd I do, Mom?



  1. Thank you for loving me and being such an amazing daughter. I wouldn't give anything for all the years of raising four little girls. If I could go back, I would give you more time and praise...because no little girl can get too much! Thank you for honoring me with this. I love you and all my little A-team!


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