My oldest daughter was born less than two months before the pilot episode of Gilmore Girls aired in the year 2000. I held my newborn daughter in my arms while I watched that first episode. I was nineteen years old.
As a new mom who had zero idea what I was doing, I remember thinking how beautiful the relationship was between Lorelai (the mom) and Rory (the daughter) on the show. Every week, while holding my little girl in my arms, I tuned in to watch these two young women and their incredible friendship. Along with the rest of the world, I fell in love with the mother/daughter duo and dreamed that someday my daughter and I could have that kind of relationship. I remember praying that I could somehow make that happen.
Fast forward about eight years. Gilmore Girls is over – sad – but luckily, my sweet husband bought me all seven seasons on DVD so that I could continue watching my very favorite show whenever I wanted to. In 2008, my 3rd daughter was born. At this point I had an eight year old, an 18-month old and a newborn – all girls. I was struggling with understanding my eight year old. She was independent, smart, stubborn and very much had her own way of doing things – just like her daddy. They are both pretty much the opposite of me. I really didn’t have any idea how to relate to her and remember thinking that there was no way we’d ever have that beautiful mother/daughter relationship that I’d always dreamed of. Our relationship was filled with tension, frustration and a lot of misunderstanding.
One day, while I was watching Gilmore Girls, I had a weird little revelation. My daughter IS Rory. And I AM Lorelai.
I knew my daughter was more like her dad then me, but I didn’t understand how his personality translated into a little girl. I didn’t know how to communicate with her. I couldn’t figure out what she was thinking or feeling. I was thoroughly confused. So I started studying Rory. I paid attention to the things that were most important to her and started asking questions of my girl to look for similarities. My daughter was very reserved, quiet, studious and hard-working. It was important to her to finish projects – she hated stopping mid-stride She loved learning and reading and often disappeared into books the same way that Rory did. She loves to write – and is immensely talented. There were so many more similarities that it was almost eerie.
Little by little I began to appreciate her uniqueness in a way that I hadn’t before. I studied her and began celebrating the amazing ways she was different than me – praising her for the things that mattered most to her. I became a student of my daughter and I cannot express how much that changed our relationship.
By the time she was about 12 we started watching Gilmore Girls together. Over and over again she would see something Lorelai would do and mentioned that I was just like her. She began to understand me through watching Lorelai. It really sounds crazy, but Lorelai and Rory taught us about each other. They showed us how to talk to each other and gave us common love for the town and the characters. We have more inside jokes with each other than with anyone else on earth – and we are so much closer than mother and daughter. We’re friends – the best of friends.
When the revival came back to Netflix, we sent the rest of the family away so that we could watch it together – just her and me. We ordered Chinese, drank massive amounts of coffee and laughed and cried as our favorite people came back into our lives again. It was a memory I’ll never forget.
My girl is about to be 17. She has one more year of high school and then she’ll go off to college. I am so in love with the woman she is becoming and couldn’t be prouder of her if I tried for a thousand years.
By the way, if you’d like to read her version of how GG changed our relationship, you can read her blog here.