I finally completed my Gilmore Girls marathon. Not the new editions, the 7 seasons I watched as they came out, rewatched with my Stella. Like millions of others out there, this was our show, our story. I wasn’t sure I could handle sitting alone on the couch, clicking next over and over, if this was masochism, picking at a wound that never heals. Yet something pulled me to the series. Maybe I was searching for answers on how to bridge the gap, maybe I wanted to capture a sense of Stella, whatever the cost. I discovered truths I wasn’t expecting, I gained perspective. Our show, our story provided plenty of warnings, I missed them all.
I was always Lorelia, Stella was Rory. It was clear. We were buddies, we hung out, we enjoyed each other. We were the envy of other mother-daughter relationships in our circle. We were so tight we often excluded others unintentionally, we just had too much history, too many inside jokes. Thoughts from my mind were processed into hers and the response delivered, light speed. We didn’t slow down for anyone else nor did we think we needed to. Chef was our Luke, he made us food, was grumpy. We forgot he wasn’t playing a role, he wasn’t a character. He didn’t appreciate being second fiddle role to his step-daughter. Meal time was rough, Arrow and Chef were often frustrated because we monopolized the conversation. It was our bit. Endearing around the table at Luke’s or Emily’s but not so much for real people who want to be in the show as well, active and not sitting in the audience. We missed that, we were too absorbed with ourselves. Still, I was Lorelia and she was Rory.
I noticed this run through just how enmeshed they were, how Rory was a late-bloomer in many of the normal teenage separation rites. I noticed how Lorelia interfered, got friendly with boyfriends, decided she needed a relationship with them as well. I noticed just how manipulative yet desperate Emily was, I saw her with understanding eyes this time. I got that the inability of Lorelia to seal the deal with a suitor, her relationship with her father cast a long shadow. What I saw differently the most though was the big fight, when the break between Rory and Lorelia took place. I remember being so angry that Lorelia was not going after her, was not doing everything she could to fix the rift. This round, I heard her say she trusted her daughter, she would find her way back. (Easier for her, she knew she was safe in the pool house and the break only lasted 2 months) I watched as she ached and avoided and tried to bring new things into her life to fill the gaping hole left by her daughter. She gets a dog, she remodels her home, she gets engaged. She is rash and determined and still unable to watch shows or go places because everything is connected to Rory. Easier for Rory, she left, she is on new ground. I knew Lorelia’s pain.
I watched Rory struggle too, all the times she wanted to call her mom and share the tiny moments of her day. She didn’t break down in one crash, instead she eased back, she had pride. I knew, just knew with a certainty that defies understanding, that my Stella has felt the exact same way, reaching for her phone before realizing she has chosen not to share anymore. It was hard to watch the reunification, yet like an archeologist dusting gently for clues, I hit next, I watched. When Rory was ready, she came back. That is what I came for, she came back. I wanted more. I wanted a secret recipe for the breadcrumbs to create a trail, to lure her home. I wanted to see something maybe I had forgotten. It wasn’t there.
What hit me the hardest though is that I think my Stella no longer sees me as Lorelia. She has become convinced I am Emily, that her life has been full of manipulations and tricks, that she has to move far away to escape “that world.” I may be Emily, I have followed her path of sending lots of things through the mail, not useless antiques but bits of her keepsakes left in the attic, drawings from Plum, letters, cards, pictures. It worked for Emily, not for me. I realized Emily was always trying to draw her daughter back, wanted to heal their fractured relationship but was too broken herself to make the changes needed to keep her. I hurt for Emily. I hurt for them all.
Finally I watched the revival episodes and ugh has been written about them. Many are disappointed, they wanted story lines resolved. I am really good with the series. All the women of the Gilmore family have found each other, have found a way back into relationship that is healthier and less enmeshed. Patterns are repeating, yes, but many have been broken. After all thats the best we can ask of any of us.
I completed my marathon, I survived the desperate yearning to laugh with my daughter. I found that I am stronger and healing and while still waiting, I too am filling my life up to cover the gaping wound. I know my own Rory will return one day, this isn’t Stars Hollow but it will always be home. Coffee is always available, mom and Chef are here. One day she will call, text, appear. I pray I remember my lines, that all she hears is grace. I pray I remember she is an adult and not a character on a show, not a child returning home from camp. I pray I can give her the space she needs. Mostly I pray I get the chance.