After over a year and a half of waiting, June Ambrose and her daughter Summer Hope Chamblin’s new home is ready. I was excited to be one of the first to see inside Summer’s new room. As they were fiddling with the camera to adjust the lighting just right for our Zoom call, I couldn’t help but smile as their energy with one another was just so fluid and light. I could tell this was going to be a great conversation.
After we swapped salutations, I wanted to get straight to the heart of the conversation: Mother’s Day. Ambrose knew that her daughter would be her best friend since birth. She said that even as a little girl, Summer had patience with her mother and gave her grace to find herself following the birth of her son, who is now 19-years-old. “When you have kids, especially your second, you have to figure out the dynamic of dealing with two and those first couple months are really overwhelming,” Ambrose told HelloBeautiful. She praised her teen daughter as “gracious” and “thoughtful” from the very beginning.
Summer couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment when she knew that her mom was her best friend. Every time Ambrose pulled up to Summer’s school, all of her peers would be excited because she was such a great time. Whether it would be reading to her class or doing their makeup for Halloween, June was always all hands on deck when it came to involvement. “It felt like she was more of a friend than an adult in a way because she kind of understood the perspective of being a kid,” Summer said to HelloBeautiful about her mother.
When it comes to raising her teenage daughter, Ambrose tries to be more sympathetic and puts herself back into the frame of mind of her own young adult years. “She wants me to be tougher with her but I just feel like it’s exhausting to battle a teenager because you have to pick your battles,” she said smiling but serious. The mother-daughter duo, who are both Geminis, admitted to having a unique sense of arguing – or at least coming to an agreement. Ambrose admitted to letting Summer win, who says that she can’t fully be mad at her mother because she’s so calm and receptive.
“It’s easy to spank a child, it’s hard to have real conversations with them. I think it’s not hard for me [because] it’s how I was raised. We’ve always used our words with the kids,” Ambrose told HelloBeautiful about her parenting method. Rather than using meek baby talk, she’s always talked to children on a leveled playing field and created an open dialogue about feelings. “Their brains aren’t as developed as yours, but they’re still trying to discover themselves. You have to give them grace and give yourself grace. I’m not perfect. I do get frustrated and lose my temper, but I have to manage where I channel that energy. My dynamic is to slowly work through it.”
Ambrose and Summer are also working on an Instagram TV show together, which will be making its official return this year. Summer gives thanks to the show for bringing her and her mother closer together as well as giving her the opportunity to be more communicative as a natural introvert. “With a lot of conversations I get easily uncomfortable, so I just avoid them altogether but with the show, it was freeing,” she told me. Summer also says the show brought her and her mother closer together because Ambrose is always traveling. Unfortunately but fortunately due to COVID, travel restrictions have allowed her to be home more and spend time with her daughter.
Summer continued, “This year was the first time she’s been home for this long so, having her home really helped us build a better bond. It was like she was never gone, we had been with each other for a long time and there was no separation.”
From the ages of one month old, Ambrose had her children on photoshoots, commercial sets, and fashion shows with her. Though she’s accustomed Summer to be in these public spaces, she’s still conscious of how much she exposes her daughter to, especially as a child who would feel anxious or uncomfortable in certain settings. As they learn more about one another, Ambrose recognizes that Summer has her own identity as a young adult, a chef, a content creator, and a human.
“I just feel like this is the time to bring your kids closer and not allow so much outside influence to raise them in the most informative times of their life. This is the age where you discover yourself, your independence, and you need to feel calm especially with social media,” Ambrose said. “When Summer posts she always wants to know what I think, my opinion matters to her and that means so much to me that my daughter is looking up to me. I’m still able to captivate her, keep her attention and communicate with her. It’s a big deal for me and that makes me feel accomplished.”
When it comes to fashion and style, Ambrose makes sure to let her daughter come into her own style and taste level even if the natural iconic style architect in her wants to interject. Summer is all about the comfort and not fitting into societal norms of what fashion is, and her mother respects that. “I can’t over produce that experience because then she never really gets to truly find herself on her own,” she said. “As someone who is a character developer by trade, I had to not bring that home. I had to separate that.”
Truthfully, if she could go to school in a messy bun and sweats every day, she would without any hesitation. Now, young Summer is flaunting her style from cozy sweats to exclusive sneaker drops, which even her mother admires. “I think that it only changed in high school because I started going to my mom’s closet more and finding things that I actually wanted to wear,” Summer admitted. The two are now similar in clothing sizes and even mix up duplicate items, forgetting which pieces actually belong to whom.
“I’m always missing stuff,” Ambrose laughed as her daughter joined in. Though she wears between an eight and a half or nine sized shoes while her daughter wears a ten, borrowing shoes was definitely a thing at one point, especially one pair of shoes for Summer. “When I was coming into my teens, I was able to wear her sneaker wedges. I was in the Isabel Marant[s] and I was able to wear those for probably all of three months before I outgrew them.”
For Mother’s Day, Summer didn’t spill the tea on what her plans for her mother are, but we got a little something until Ambrose shows us on the gram! “It’s always a little bittersweet for me now that grandma’s gone, but I guess it is [Summer’s] time to celebrate me. I have to not go to a place of mourning like I have the last couple of years, and try to get out of that,” Ambrose said during a moment of realization.
“On Saturday I have a surprise for my mom. I know we can’t do Sunday because the place will be closed. I’m not going to say what it is because I promised myself I would keep it a secret,” she said excitedly. On Mother’s Day exactly, she plans to keep it sweet and simple with an at-home brunch and movie date but admits that things were a lot easier when she was younger. “When you’re younger, it was so easy to just bake some muffins or breakfast in bed, do a little movie, write her a little cute card with the handwriting all backward and crazy. Then she went vegan and I was like, what am I going to make you?”
As we closed out, I wanted to know how they manage such a close, open relationship with one another, especially as two strong-headed, ambitious, and fearless Geminis. For Ambrose, the key is perspective and understanding where the other person is coming from. There’s a difficulty in making tough decisions in parenting while being understanding and loving, but Ambrose seems to have gotten it down. “It’s a really fine line because you want to be close, but then there has to be a certain level of respect. Sometimes those lines get blurred,” she admitted.
According to Summer, their relationship isn’t perfect and sometimes they go head-to-head with one another, but it’s all love at the end of the day. “I think people just need to know and understand that it’s okay to fight and have disagreements. It’s okay to argue, that’s just normal. You need to know how to forgive also how to apologize,” she said wisely. “In any relationship – just not a mother-daughter relationship – you need to understand that people are growing and especially with the age gap. It goes two ways [to] put in the effort.”