Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day--Ainsley's Story

Thanks to everyone who helped Ainsley, the heroine in Beyond I Do, decide on a special gift to give her mom for Mother's Day. For those who've read the story, you can imagine how difficult the following moment is for Ainsley. Her and her mom haven't been close in some time, and though Ainsley is trying to reconnect, she often feels pushed aside. 

(For those who haven't read the story, CBD is currently offering the e-book version for under $5! Get it HERE.)

Perhaps some of you can relate to Ainsley's struggle. How can you show honor and love to someone who doesn't reciprocate? At what point should Ainsley quit trying, if ever? These are the questions she finds herself wrestling with. 

Read on to see how she decided to handle a rather uncertain Mother's Day. 

Love That Initiates, Even When It's Hard

by Jennifer Slattery

Photo by Hans taken from
“I feel kind of silly doing this.” Hands crusted with salt dough, Ainsley blew a lock of hair out of her face. “Not to mention, the last time my mom and I made salt dough anything, things didn’t end so well.”
Gina set her glitter canister down. “But since you never told her how her leaving so abruptly hurt you—”

“It wasn’t just that fact that she left. It was the why—for a man. Always for a man, and never the same one.” Mom went through more boyfriends in a year than Ainsley had had in her entire lifetime.

“She’s just insecure. And lonely. And probably scared.”

“Of what? Connecting on a heart-to-heart level with her only daughter?”

Gina shrugged. “Maybe. Probably. But have you ever wondered why she keeps chasing after men?”

Ainsley sighed. “Yeah. I know. She’s hurting and desperate for someone to love her, but she’s going about it all the wrong way. And pushing away those who truly do love her in the process.”

“So what’re you going to do about it?”

Ainsley closed her eyes. Took a deep breath. “Keep loving her. As much as it hurts, what else can I do?”

Gina squeezed her hand. “Proud of you, girl.”

“Yeah, well …” She surveyed the cross shapes lined on the baking dish. “Not sure if this is the way to do it.”

When she came up with the idea, it had seemed brilliant. Sentimental. A way to let Mom home know how much those times when the two of them had crafted together, back when Ainsley was a kid, had meant to her. But now she just felt silly. 

How many grown women made salt dough ornaments with their best friends? Besides, chances were, Mom wouldn’t get the meaning behind the gift. She’d probably even cancel their Mother’s Day outing, saying something had come up and could they reschedule?

But Ainsley had sent out the invite and she intended to honor her commitment. And hopefully to show Mom the love of Christ in the process.

Ainsley sat at a park bench under a large elm tree, gift bag and card in front of her. She alternated between watching the near empty parking lot and checking for missed messages on her phone. She wasn’t hugely surprised Mom was late. Fact was, she’d be more surprised if she showed. So how long should Ainsley sit here, waiting?

She’d give Mom five more minutes. In the meantime, she’d enjoy her time in the sun. She rummaged through her purse for her headphones and tapped on her Pandora app. Ear buds in, she watched a chubby cheeked toddler
Picture by cece1 taken from
chase after a ball nearly a quarter of his size. His parents occupied a bench a few feet away, laughing.

“There you are.”

Ainsley turned around to see Mom huffing up the hill in her direction. Dressed in silver, open-toed heels and a short, pink, and obviously fake, leather skirt. To the park. So clearly walking the trails was out.

“Hi.” Ainsley stood and met her with a hug, her nose tickling at the scent of her strong, floral perfume.

“Sorry I’m late. Kohl’s is having a great sale, so I popped in on the way. Got a bit distracted by the clearance rack.” She laughed.

“No problem.” Ainsley wasn’t sure what she would’ve preferred—Mom putting a man before their time together or cheap, material items.

Love. Show her love. Agape, no strings attached, no expectations love.

“I brought you something.” Looping her arm through Mom’s, she led her to the picnic table and the gift bag. She still felt silly for the handmade item tucked inside but the Olive Garden gift card she’d purchased to go with it helped ease her embarrassment some.

“That was so thoughtful." Mom took the bag. "Thank you, sweetie.” She removed the tissue then peered inside. Her eyebrows shot up, and her gaze jumped to Ainsley. “What’s this?” 

She pulled out the picture frame adorned with glittery salt dough crosses sprayed with shiny sealant. Studied the photograph. It was of her and a much, much younger Ainsley. They were on a teeter totter, both of them laughing.

Mom set the frame on the picnic table and blinked a few times. “I remember that day.”

“So do I,” Ainsley whispered.

Mom grabbed her hand and gave a squeeze. “That was nice. Real nice.” Her eyes grew moist, and she didn’t say anything for a long moment. When she spoke again, her voice cracked. “You always were such a thoughtful girl. Still are.”

“Thanks.” The lavender scented wind stirred Ainsley’s hair, and she tucked it behind her ears.

“You were so young." Mom looked at the photograph again. "Where’d you get that picture?”

“In a box of stuff Dad gave me.”

Mom gave a quick nod and picked up the frame. “I can’t believe you remember this.”

“It was a special day.”

Mom turned teary eyes Ainsley’s way. “It was, wasn’t it?” Straightening, she took in a deep breath. Her eyes searched Ainsley’s, and her mouth quivered, as if there were so much more she wanted to say. But she didn’t need to. Ainsley understood. Mom loved her. She might not always know how to show it, but she truly did love her.

“What do you say we do something to make this day special, too?” Mom asked.

Ainsley smiled. “It already is.”

If you've read Beyond I Do, you may be curious as to where this encounter falls in the storyline. It's between when ... hm ... so, I don't want to give away any part of the story for those who haven't read it. If I come up with a cryptic way to tell you, I'll let you know! But it's between an intense moment between her and her mom and the end. How's that? (If you really want to know, feel free to email me at jenniferaslattery(at)gmail(dot)com.)

You may be happy to know you'll get to follow more of Ainsley's mom's story soon! Angela's story will release from New Hope Publishers in February of 2017. How fun is that? They haven't given the book a title yet, but I'll let you know as soon as they do. 

Now, back to today's story. Could you relate to Ainsley's angst? Is Mother's Day hard for you, and if so, why? How do you deal with the hard? Do any of you have a special Mother's Day memory? Share your thoughts and stories with us in the comments below. 

And happy Mother's Day Mommas! I hope your day is special
and that you're surrounded by those you love. If this day is hard for you, I hope you'll feel God's love surrounding you and pulling you close. 

Before I go, if you live in the Des Moines area, I invite you to join me for two upcoming events:

May 13th: The Power of Grace
Time: 6:30pm

Location: Radiant Church located at 1300 Metro East 

Des Moines, IA

May 14th: Book signing, Barnes and Noble, Des 
Moines, IA. BooksigningposterforDesMoinesB&N-page-001

Where: 4550 University 

West Des Moines, IA 50266