Like Mother, Like Daughter. [Hopefully…]

Saying goodbye to my Mom in the States.

When I was a little girl, I decided that there could be nothing cooler in the whole entire universe than to have my belly button pierced.

 Yes, I now am acutely aware of just how trashy that is, but before you pass judgment simply allow me to point out the fact that at that age, you were probably still gnawing on neon colored crayons and licking lead based paint off the walls. If you think about it that way, I was actually rather sophisticated for child!

 My childhood best friend and I begged and pleaded for years, but to no avail: our stick-in-the-mud parents wouldn’t budge. We were solemnly promised that we could get our belly buttons pierced together the day that I turned eighteen.[A rule that struck me as somewhat Amish in nature, but what’s a kid to do?] And so for years, we eagerly awaited that much anticipated day when we would at long last be granted the permission to deface our own bodies.

 Well, when I was seventeen, my family moved from Budapest, Hungary to Cary, North Carolina. My 18th birthday crept in like a dreary morning fog, and I still barely knew the strangers that sat beside me day after day in class. And so on April 19th, 2005, my Mom and I walked into an alarmingly inauspicious  tattoo parlor called “Warlocks” in downtown Raleigh, and a rather intimidating platinum blonde with enough shrapnel in her face to raise the terrorist threat rating at LAX from green to red pierced both of our belly buttons. Mom went first.

 That’s my Mom. Mom didn’t just stand in for a best friend that wasn’t around that day-she is my best friend.

 My Mom is the only person that I have on speed dial. We probably talked three or four times a day when I was in college, and even now living in Africa, I still manage to talk to her at least once or twice a day. That’s so indicative of what has been an unwavering, beautiful theme to my life: “Mommy’s here.”

 And she has been. Through skinned elbows and bruised hearts, crushing defeats and standing ovations, first dates and first drinks, bad haircuts and worse mood swings, long hours spend running lines for whatever show I was in that month, frantic last minute mall runs, dramatic meltdowns over chemistry…my Mom has always made herself entirely available to me. Nothing has ever been too small or insignificant to warrant her time and attention.

With my Mom and Dad at grad. :)

If I turn out to be anything like my Mother, I’ll be fearless. I’ll be able to juggle ten thousand different people’s needs gracefully with seemingly no thought or care for my own. I can only hope that one day I’ll be something like the woman that grew up on a tiny, one road island off the coast of North Carolina, and then fearlessly moved to a third world, major European city. The woman who can’t possibly [no matter how diligently she tries!] escape the check-out line at the grocery store without excitedly exclaiming to the cashier that she is “the most happily married woman that she knows!” The woman who started and directed a school in Ukaine because there wasn’t a good place for ex-pat kids to learn. [Don’t you ever tell Cindy Peterson that there’s something that she can’t do!] The woman that’s so bluntly honest, she may be the only person in the world who will tell me that those pants really do make me look fat. [Thanks Mom. :)] If I’m anything like my Mom, I will value following Jesus over being comfortable and safe.

 Mom has modeled all of those things and countless others for me my entire life. So Mom-thanks for being my secret keeper, elbow healer, personal shopper, shrink, hit-woman, best friend and someone that I really want to be like. I love you!

[And yes, we both still have our belly button rings in. Trashy as they may be, they’re our “thing”-and mine is such a hilariously sweet reminder of just how much my Mom loves me.]


  1. Hi Ashley,
    This post came up on facebook and I read it and some other posts you have on your blog with great delight. You have great writing, humor and depth. Thank you for what you are doing over in Senegal. May God continue to bless, encourage and strengthen you. It is encouraging for me to hear how God is faithfully caring for you.

  2. Kristin says:

    I remember that day she took you!

    Precious tribute to your mom. And spot on.

    Now, if she’d just return my phone calls….

  3. Hi Grace! Thank you-that was really encouraging. :) I’m glad you enjoyed reading-I have a lot of fun writing! I know staff kids HATE hearing this-but I really can’t believe how grown up you are. :)

    Kristin-I’ll get on her case for you. ;)

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