A mother-daughter bond strengthens through a shared love for Gilmore Girls
Dear Gilmore Girls,
Oh, how I love thee! You have given me such joy and comfort over the years, and I credit you for one of the reasons I have such a close relationship with my daughter. Sure, she and I have bonded in other ways. We’ve eaten our weight in cookie dough together, and I once pulled her out of school to play hooky at Disneyland. But nothing comes close to the bonding powers of watching the madcap adventures of Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter, Rory, as they navigate their colorful lives in the mythical town of Stars Hollow.
My love for you began five years ago when my daughter came home from yet another stressful day at middle school, plopped down on the sofa, and started channel surfing. “Wait!” I told her when she came upon your pilot episode, a show I had seen years before when it first aired. Back then I was intrigued, but way too busy with a two-year-old daughter to commit to a show that didn’t involve a purple dinosaur. So we watched a few scenes together, then a few more, and suddenly, we were in love.
You became the best part of our day. Every afternoon when she got home from school, we’d hunker down on the sofa, giddy with anticipation. There were strict rules to follow: No texting. No phone calls. No bathroom breaks. We dared not speak for fear of missing your quick-witted banter. It was only during commercial breaks that we dared to question things such as, “Whatever happened to Lane’s father?” Or “How could Lorelai spend so much on clothes when she hadn’t saved for Rory’s education?” We’d share trivia, such as how the actress who owned Sophie’s Music is really a famous singer who also wrote the show’s opening theme song. And sometimes, when Rory’s pain paralleled my daughter’s own life, she’d break the rules entirely, pause the show, and confide in me how a girl at school did something equally as mean to her as Paris had done to Rory. Those were my favorite shows of all.
For seven glorious seasons, we were absorbed in your story lines. Sure, deep down we knew you were a fairy tale. No mother-daughter relationship is as conflict-free as yours (save for that horrible fight when Rory dropped out of Yale and moved in with her grandparents). And nobody can eat as much candy, pizza, and takeout from Al’s Pancake World as those girls without gaining weight. But we didn’t care. We loved you despite your mistruths and were always captivated. Our hearts exploded when Luke first kissed Lorelai on the front porch of the Dragonfly Inn, and then they broke when Dean dumped Rory at the dance marathon. And through those and other unforgettable story lines, my daughter and I were right by your side, laughing and crying and unknowingly strengthening our bond with every episode.
That’s why, when my daughter turned 18 last March, I cashed in a favor and took her to the Warner Brothers studio where you were filming the highly anticipated new shows for Netflix. We ignored the sign that read “Do Not Enter” leading to the set and walked right on; it was lunchtime, and no one was around. Suddenly our reality transformed. No longer was it spring in the San Fernando Valley but fall in Stars Hollow, where the leaves had turned amber and gold. We peered into the window of Kim’s Antiques and walked past the church, where its restored bells had driven the town crazy. We strolled by Taylor’s Olde Fashioned Soda Shoppe and the neighboring Luke’s Diner, swearing we could actually smell the coffee brewing. Then we rounded a hidden corner and saw the cluster of trailers with a sign that read “Gilmore Girls.” We hit the mother lode! We found a bench just close enough to see but not be seen, and waited. Wait . . . was that? Yes, it was Kirk! And beyond him was Gypsy! And, oh my God, we saw Luke! The actual Luke! My daughter and I held hands and waited, but that was to be all. While the actual Gilmore girls eluded us, my daughter still hugged me and said this was the best birthday she ever had.
So, thank you, my wonderful Gilmore Girls. With three days to go until your brand-new shows start, we await you like an old friend, fluffing the pillows and folding the towels, excited to welcome you into our home once again. Thank you for your wonderful life lessons about fashion and dating and cooking (well, from Sookie, anyway). And thank you for strengthening the bond between me and my real-life Rory, one who is every inch as sweet and gorgeous and brilliant as yours. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have had one of the best moments a mother could wish for when, on her high school graduation, my daughter quoted Rory on her Facebook page as a tribute to me. There, with a picture of her in full cap and gown with me by her side, she wrote, “As she guided me through these incredible eighteen years, I don’t know if she realized that the person I most wanted to be was her. Thank you, Mom, you are my guidepost for everything.”
For that, I love you most of all.
Joanne Kimes, ESME’s Parenting Resource Guide, is the writer and creator of the best-selling Sucks book series (some titles include Breastfeeding Sucks, Potty Training Sucks, and Teenagers Suck) and coauthor of The Stay-At-Home Martyr. She has contributed to numerous blogs and magazine articles, and has appeared on NBC’s Today show, Life & Style, and KTLA news.
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