My thoughts have been centered a lot lately about the subject of mothers and daughters. Why is it that some mothers and daughters have what seemingly appears to be a great relationship, while others struggle to just speak nicely?
My daughter, Greyson, now age 22, shared an email with me about an event in a tiny Connecticut city that played host to the fictional town of Stars Hollow, the setting of the “Gilmore Girls” television series. The series ended nine years ago, but Greyson and I have shared many late nights watching it in re-runs and on DVD (my husband bought me the complete series). So, when the email trumpeted a re-enactment of recurring events in the show with original cast members, we knew it was something we couldn’t miss.
I think Greyson and I bonded over the show because it’s all about the relationships between mothers and daughters, their friends, fathers, husbands, boyfriends, etc.
While the relationship between main character Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter, Rory, was totally different than the one Greyson and I share –
Lorelai was a 16-year-old who got pregnant with her daughter and grows up with her much of the time as her best friend, and I was a 34-year-old married, working mom with a 7-year-old son in tow – the love between the two and their family was unmistakable. I found many of the instances in the teen Rory’s life, even though she was a mature teen, to be moments when I could do some “gentle” teaching.
So, I tried really hard to get tickets to this premiere “Gilmore Girls” event leading up to a four-episode revival on Netflix Nov. 25 – but with the town being so small, it was sold out before we knew it.
Last Saturday, we attended the Dixie Chicks concert at the New Orleans Arena. On the way while listening to their CDs, Greyson fondly recalled sitting on the floor in our den on a Saturday morning listening to their music and reading the CD liner notes about the women and their music while I cleaned house.
The concert was incredible, and the Stevie Nicks’ song “Landslide” that the Chicks had a big hit with about Nicks’ relationship with her father really resonated with Greyson and me. We screamed our heads off with the Chicks (even though my daughter points out I don’t always know the right words).
All these moments and so many others reiterate how personal experiences with loved ones are much more precious than any gift. We have spent memorable trips together to New York and Florida as well as many trips to Lafayette and Thibodaux for Carmelette Dance Team events and countless dance competitions and revues. Ask my sister-in-law Beth about how Greyson’s nervousness makes me a wreck, and when related to dance, took hold on me so that I forgot parts of her costume twice and Beth intervened to handle Greyson’s make up and costumes.
Our common interests in music, Broadway, dance, travel and the values that we share from our Catholic faith upbringing are special.
This is what I most cling to when tensions arise as I, the mom who tries to guide and advise and throw interference in the way of missteps as my young adult becomes the independent and strong woman making her way in the world.
It doesn’t seem that long ago when I was 22 and wanted to live my own life, while my mom had lots of suggestions on how to achieve my goals better than I was doing. She drove me crazy – as I know I do Greyson – but I always knew that she wanted the best for me. She died at 57, my age now, way too soon, and I wished we could have grown older and wiser together as the “Gilmore Girls” did.
What is all comes down to is that mutuality of familial love, and, sometimes we’re lucky to share that affection with a few close friends. I know my daughter will be with me through all the sorrows and joys, and I for her, no matter what. It’s just all the jockeying we do in our crazy, busy roles as mothers and daughters that sometimes makes that fundamental truth hard to see. That’s why it is important to take the time to build memories together as much as we can.
Christine Bordelon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.