I often find myself watching old re-runs of The Gilmore Girls and wondering if anyone has that kind of relationship with her mother? I certainly don’t. We don’t engage in witty banter using every SAT word we know, and we certainly do not get along as well as they do all the time. Ours is not the Norman Rockwell of mother/daughter relationships, but are we supposed to have that? Should I feel guilty for expressing the stress I sometimes experience with my mother?
I was nervous about her coming to visit me here in Austin. I have never been visited by parents before because I’ve never lived anywhere new before. In fact, I’ve had very little that’s been new as far as my parents were concerned. My first apartment was the apartment once shared by them. My mother knew all about my college because she drove me there for piano lessons and picked all my childhood babysitters up from its dorms. I worked in the district on whose school board my father served as president. All of my experiences were shared.
So this was my weekend to share all of my new places and experiences with my mother, the first visitor from ‘back home’. I had been compiling a list since my arrival of all the great places I would take her and all the stories and info I would tell her. This didn’t turn out to be the case. What happened ended with mascara running down my cheeks in the parking garage outside of church as I poured out all my disappointments from the weekend. My mother sat listening, feeling terrible as she, of course, had never intended any of this.
And then we sat side by side in church. My new church. We sang hymns, said prayers, and I introduced her to all of my new church friends. We went out for ice cream and spent the afternoon by the pool and exchanged in witty commentary (with not a single SAT word spoken) on all of the dresses at the Emmy’s.
It wasn’t a perfect 60 minute episode or the picture perfect Rockwell painting, and we didn’t hold hands and skip through field of Texas wildflowers. I don’t think we ever will. I’m not sure if I ever want to. I love my mom and I’m glad I can cry at her in the parking garage next to church and then we can move on and we can even be better because of it. We stressed each other out and I had a melt down, but she is my mom, and she came to see my new home and tell me how much she was proud of me, and I finally got to share all of my new life with her. A definite gift that I wouldn’t trade for anything.