25 Nearest and Dearest 8/25
The Gilmore Girls (Gilmore Girls)
For as long as I can remember I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls reruns on TV and thus, making it that I’ve seen the show about 20 times by now (it’s already time for another beginning to end re-watch). And when I was younger, I didn’t always understand the relationships between Emily, Lorelai, and Rory Gilmore. (But I do remember sobbing my eyes out at Rory’s high school graduation speech because in every way, my mother is my best friend, too.) There aren’t many relationships in the world as profound as that between a mother and daughter. And while I personally don’t know what that’s like to be a mother, I can understand that it must be the scariest, most overwhelmingly beautiful experience. Families have been complicated since the beginning of time, but perhaps that’s what makes it the most beautiful bond in the world. These are the people who have seen the ugliest sides of us and continue to love us boundlessly. Gilmore Girls is without a doubt the one show that’s written mother/daughter relationships most accurately in its complex, gorgeous form. And above all things, the series has authenticated the fact that at the end of the day, no matter how messy things get, these women will always have someone to lean on.
While I’m not too fond of the fact that Lorelai was a best friend before she was a mother, in the end, that method worked best for she and Rory. And although we never really watched Rory grow up as a little girl, perhaps this is what was necessary for her not to feel the absence of a father. Lorelai was both. Lorelai was everything. Despite the fact that the two had a major fall out, it showcased the very essence of what a mother/daughter relationship is like. So often I’ve sat here and wondered whether or not the key to motherhood is balance, but other times, I’ve come to the conclusion that these things are bound to happen. A good mother is a best friend, but life’s unpredictable and even those closet to us will disappoint us one day. If there’s one truth I’m certain of when it comes to relationships, it’s the very fact that our imperfections can and will upset others. Our mistakes have consequences and our journey won’t always bring another happiness. Lorelai has always cared so incredibly deeply for Rory that often times she’s not stood her ground with rules and regulations. But that’s the beauty of relationships, especially mother/daughter ones, the love that’s within is unwavering. And even when things blow up later on, there’s a solution to them.
Additionally, it all comes down to the way we reciprocate adoration and that’s probably the most difficult lesson any of us can learn. And that’s essentially Gilmore Girls at its finest — each of these women loved one another with every beat of their heart, but because they had different ways of showing it, sometimes it’d appear as though gratitude didn’t reside within them. That’s especially the case with Rory and a lot of our frustrations with her character towards the last few seasons. But trying to remember that most kids go through a rebellion phase is fascinating because it’s so unexpected from her. And understandably, learning how to get by on her own didn’t always end with the right choices thereby, allowing not only her to grow, but Lorelai as well. It then resulted in the indefinite change in their relationship which finally came down to a balance between friendship and parenthood. It took a fallout to learn and that’s what makes this series so incredibly special.
Moreover, since we’re on the topic of a fallout making relationships even stronger, there are no words for how much I adore Emily Gilmore and how sad I am that my younger self didn’t understand where she was coming from. Again, because mother/daughter relationships are often extremely complex, it’s easy to see that though Emily appears to be constantly disappointed in Lorelai, the truth of the matter is she wants so desperately to be close to her daughter, she doesn’t know how to. And this brings us back to the way people display their affection. No two people, even those who share blood will emanate love in the same way; thereby, though Lorelai didn’t receive the kind off affection she wanted from her mother, it doesn’t mean it was absent. Emily’s love for her daughter goes beyond anything any of them can comprehend and it’s that very reason why it’s so difficult to showcase it in a way that’ll be understood. And it wasn’t until Lorelai begun to understand how difficult it was to be without Rory where she felt Emily’s pain. That’s perhaps the most heartbreaking part of their story, history has a way of repeating itself, and we never truly understand our mothers until we become them. It’s then where we feel the pain they feel when we worry them, hurt them, or leave them. Emily is an extraordinary woman with the demeanor of a queen, but Lorelai has always been her weakness — the daughter she needed to desperately hold onto and love above all things whom she wasn’t always able to understand. Lorelai was her world until Rory was born. And that’s why it was so easy to love Rory the way she did.
Again, I feel as though writing these things not being a mother myself doesn’t make too much sense, but it’s reflected so gorgeously on screen that it’s hard not to understand. I’ve heard from so many of my relatives that being a grandmother changes your life in ways that are so much more different than when you’re a mother. Whatever she couldn’t have with Lorelai, the mistakes she made, she tried to do right by Rory, and even that, in the most subtly brilliant ways taught her how to be with Lorelai. There are a colossal amount of impeccable scenes between the two, but what often brings me to tears is their final scene in the series finale. The way Kelly Bishop played Emily’s exquisite and profound joy in the moment where she learns Lorelai still wants to continue Friday night dinners is one of, if not the most deeply moving scene between the two. Friday night dinners were always a way for the family to bond, and often she knew it wasn’t Lorelai’s ideal way to spend the time, but it is. There’s nothing more she’d want to do than to spend those few hours with her parents. It’s in that moment where viewers can finally understand that the love these two share for one another will always be the force that’ll make them stand tall amongst difficulties, heartaches, and disappointments. Emily Gilmore is proud of her daughter, truly and wholeheartedly grateful to have her in her life and Lorelai knows this. Lorelai believes it with everything in her.
Next up is the always fascinating relationship between Emily and Rory. As mentioned above, a lot of the older women I know have said that having a grandchild is so much more different than having a child. At that point in your life, you’re more aware of how to approach things in order to make the best of the time you’ve got with them. Experience brings about the best growth. Emily and Rory’s relationship was often stronger due to the communication they established. It was incredibly easy to be proud of Rory because traditionally, she did things right growing up. She was a tiny genius and both Richard and Emily knew how to articulate their love for her. And in a lot ways, the differences in both relationships taught them how to live their lives attempting to understand the person in front of them more than they did the day before. The closeness they established would later allow them to open up more and build a closer relationship with Lorelai as well.
The Gilmore Girls are a remarkable example of what complicated families look like. There’s no dynamic in the world that’s truly effortless, but it’s the special connections in which love is the foundation of that make relationships unbreakable. There will never come a time in life where we aren’t learning something. There will never come a time in our lives where we will not be surprised, ashamed, disappointed by someone else’s actions and vise versa. As human beings, our only objective in life is to be better than the person we were yesterday all while being good to those around us. Emily, Lorelai, and Rory were constantly growing in love and that growth allowed them to thicken the bond between them. While it was never bold on the surface, it was always clear when I took a deeper look. The best part of Gilmore Girls is the subtly in the growth, through each and every episode we were given the opportunity to watch their past unfold into their present and disappear as they headed towards their future. The series, and these relationships especially authenticated the fact that while there will always be troubles, the bond between a mother and daughter will always be irreplaceable. Where one leads, the other will follow and that’s the cheesy kind of beautiful thing that makes the Gilmore Girls special — through thick and thin they bring out the best in each other while revealing the worst in order to change and grow.
And two more months until the revival. Yes!