Odds & Ends.

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“Ashley, I’m wearing my ugly sneakers. Don’t show the internet my ugly sneakers.” Me (left) and my mom. Mother’s Day 2014.

In my teens, my relationship with my mother was strained and tumultuous, to say the least. I was a stubborn, rebellious, and often ungrateful pain in the ass who thought I was right about everything- and my mom, who was just as stubborn, had the common sense- and what I considered to be audacity at the time- to tell me I wasn’t, in fact, right about everything- and what an obnoxious twit I was being. I vividly remember shouting matches between us being a weekly occurrence while my poor father or older brothers tried to play referee before tempers flared too much and something in my parents’ house got broken. I’m pretty sure I damaged more than one door from slamming them so hard on a regular basis.

In my early twenties, things hadn’t improved much. My mother and I could never really see eye to eye on a lot of things- be it my wardrobe, my impulsive and sometimes reckless travels, my circle of friends, or the guys I dated (in her defense- she did end up being absolutely right about them- although back then I’d never have given her the satisfaction of letting her know that.) I never thought things would improve between us, and I had vowed that if and when I had children of my own- I would never be the type of mother to them that mine was to me.

But naturally, as I got older, matured a little, gained some perspective about myself and the world around me- the underlying bitter tension between my mother and I seemed to diminish slowly but surely and was instead replaced with patience and understanding as we started to connect and bond. When my dad became ill a couple of years ago, my mom and I drew strength from each other, and came to rely heavily on one another to get us through the toughest of times when he passed away a short time later. We grieved together. She’d lost her husband- the love of her life, and I’d lost my father and best friend. In the wake of that loss and the grieving, we’d finally fully-developed the mutual respect that had been missing during my teens and early twenties.

It’s not always easy. Sometimes I drive my mom nuts and vice-versa. Sometimes we argue or make each other cry- because, like I said- we’re both stubborn- but we both finally understand how much we truly love each other and how that love comes with no strings attached.  I love my mom. I respect her, and I’m grateful for all the sacrifices she’s made for me (including some of her sanity, I’m sure.) I don’t have kids- and probably won’t for a long time- but if and when I do- I can only hope to be at least half the type of mother to them that my mom is to me.

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For Mother’s Day this past weekend, my mom and I spent the day shopping (including buying each other lovely candles!) disregarding our healthy diets to scarf down a platter of deep fried seafood and fries- and go for a nice, long drive through the back roads of picturesque Western Massachusetts to take in the scenery, sunshine, and fresh air. It was a beautiful, relaxing day- and set the tone for the remainder of this week.

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Another thing that set the tone for this week? An AMAZING belated-birthday (or on the flip side- a very, very, very early birthday present) from my wonderful, beautiful, incredible friend Imogen across the pond! It was on my table when I came home from work yesterday afternoon, and I admittedly teared up- in a good way- while reading the very kind words she wrote inside my card. I will cherish it always.

I was more than content with the card and the caramel mini eggs, but Imogen had included a couple more surprises for me, too!

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In the world of Harry Potter, my favorite house has always been Slytherin. Save for a few genuinely bad eggs, I’ve always thought Slytherins were misunderstood, or, such as the case with Draco Malfoy, misguided- as opposed to just genetically downright evil (yes, I’m aware I’m talking about fictional characters. I just have a lot of feelings, okay?!)

Anyway- any quiz, game, or questionnaire related to determining which Hogwarts House I’d belong in, I’ve hilariously always ended up in Slytherin. Imogen (a Ravenclaw for sure,) knows this, and sent me a pair of Slytherin leggings to wear to proudly show my support for what is CLEARLY the best house.

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And last, but certainly not least, Imogen- who is a huge “Walking Dead” fan like me- sent me the full collection of TWD-themed eye shadows from Geek Chic Cosmetics. With fun names like “Stay in the House, Carl,” and “He’s Korean,” I CANNOT WAIT to try these out. I’ll be doing a separate post within the next few days dedicated entirely to these shadows- including swatches and reviews.

Imogen, THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. I’m seriously at a loss for words right now because of how surprised and appreciative I am. I adore you! This was one of the best belated/super early birthday presents ever!

These past couple of days have been so phenomenal!

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