Debby Ingram: A Kind, Compassionate, Capable Woman

“I need my mommy and damn it, I don’t care who knows it!”

- Rory Gilmore, Gilmore Girls

Grace Ingram with her mom

When I was younger, my mom was obsessed with Gilmore Girls. So obviously, it became my obsession shortly after. We would watch one episode every day when I got home from school and I just really appreciated its humor and dreamy love plots.

Now, though, I have an intense admiration for the strong mother-daughter relationship between Lorelai and Rory. I feel grateful to say my relationship with my own mom parallels it. And that quote up there? Yeah, I’ve definitely said that at least 100 times since coming to college.

My mom is my best friend. My closest confidant. My biggest supporter. She has always welcomed me to come to her with anything, and she has never failed to help me. I know there is nothing I can’t tell her. You know how people always say dramatically “I don’t know what I’d do without you?” Well, since starting my college career, I have realized that I truly would not know how to conduct myself without my mom.

It is quite obvious that my mom is special. She is a hard worker who has set a great example for my brother and I. After staying home with us for many years, she went back to school and got her Masters in Divinity. She’s now an ordained deacon and works as a chaplain. Her determination in that journey showed me that I can do anything I set my mind to. She is passionate about what she does, and she puts 110% effort into her work. She is also incredibly bright and goofy, and that is part of why I love spending time with her.

But aside from her drive and fun personality, perhaps the reason I find my mom so extraordinary is because of her overwhelming warmth and genuine concern for others. 

Debby Ingram spends a lot of her time putting other people first. Whether it’s with my brother and I or patients at her chaplain job, my mom is a supporter. I admire her ability to think about other people, because I feel as though that’s something many people struggle with. For her, it comes naturally.

When I think of my mom, I think of warmth and safety. I feel her hug me tightly as I cry. I smell her cooking when I walk in the house after a long day at school. I hear her singing Red Hot Chili Pepper songs in the car. I see her eyes, bright and blue. 

My mom has influenced my life in an unimaginable, immeasurable way. She taught me how to do my laundry, how to be empathetic, and how to make the best pasta sauce you’ll ever taste. She has always encouraged my creativity, even if that meant letting me wear tights on my head in public (yes, this is a true story). 

My mom not only influences me, but she is striking to everyone who walks into her life. To prove this, I asked some people these two questions: What is one word that comes to mind when you think of my mom? Why do you think that word?

One of my best friends, Paige Neal, answered, “Welcoming. I say this because there were many times when I would find myself at your house when I did not feel happy at my own. Your mom made me feel like I was an adult and would speak to me in a way that made me feel comforted. I feel like she is a big part of who I grew up to be today.”

Ted Sheils, my partner, said, “Loving. I think she just loves being a Mom. And she would do anything for you guys. She has so much love to give to the world.”

My oldest friend Allyssa Vargas said, “Warm-hearted. Your mom always goes out of her way to make sure other people are taken care of. I see her as a person I can go to when I need help, words of wisdom, or just a friend.”

Sara Olschanski, one of my closest friends since seventh grade responded, “Compassionate. She not only cares about her family, but she welcomes people into her home as if they are part of her family too. She’s always wondering how I’m doing and genuinely cares about me as if I were her own daughter.”

Debby Ingram is an extraordinary woman because she has the unique ability to make everyone around her feel special and loved. I strive to be as kind and caring as she is every day. And when people say to me, “You remind me so much of your mom,” I feel flattered. My proudest achievement is being her mini-me.