Personal Column: Gilmore Girls is fictional, but my mom’s love isn’t

This is me watching Gilmore Girls thinking how I wish they were me and my mom.

Original image courtesy of Netflix, Design by Roxell Bonilla

This is me watching Gilmore Girls thinking how I wish they were me and my mom.

Like every Netflix show to exist, there is always a mother-daughter relationship that is a catastrophic symphony. Ginny and Georgia, Jane the Virgin, Sweet Magnolias, and my favorite: Gilmore Girls. 

During Gilmore Girls, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore would go to Luke’s diner for breakfast every day, eating stacks of pancakes, and donuts, drinking cups of coffee, and discussing school, college, boys, and just life. Their sweet short goodbye would be said when it was time, and they would go on their way. A sudden disruption occurs. Rory gets into trouble at school, causing Lorelai to rush there to figure it out. The two get into a fight which causes them to stop speaking for a while.

Like every family, there is always a disastrous affiliation of outbursts—whether within siblings or parents. There will never be a perfect family. I learned that at a very young age.

But there is always a kid that outshines the rest—the wittiest, kindest, caring, best-looking, extroverted, athletic, and impressive sibling. (This will feel like a TikTok Reddit story because I’m not going to use her name, but we’ll call her Jasmine.) Jasmine, my older sister, outshined all of my siblings at her remarkably young age. She was quiet, but her actions louder than words showed my parents that she was smart. All her teachers adored her. A straight-A student. You get the picture. I felt like my parents loved her the most. This is where the problems began to spark in my relationship with my mother.

Throughout my middle school years, Jasmine was highly praised. Whenever we went to parties, all my parents talked about was her. Her outstanding grades, her extracurriculars, her beauty even. She was the diamond of the flowers. 

Much like Rory was constantly praised for her beauty, excellent grades, and school standing as the valedictorian in Chilton. She was perfect, to mom.

I did not take that well. Constantly being compared to her, my mom said, “Oh Jasmine did this and this, why don’t you do the same?” or “Hey Roxell, did you hear about Jasmine’s award for this? I’ve never been so proud in my life!” or… you get the point. I began to grow tired of this degrading routine. 

I complained, “Mom, why do you compare me so much to her, it hurts my feelings.”

 To which she answered,  “I don’t ever compare you, I only want you to follow in her footsteps.” 

The feeling of wrath and frustration overwhelmed me, as I knew that what she believes is best for me was everything my sister did. 

During moments like these, I felt like Lorelai when she argued with her mom about the mistakes and regrets she did when she was younger. Like getting pregnant at 16, and running away. Neither of which I would do, but the arguments would always hit home.

“You should have married Chris,” 

“I was young and stupid mom.”

“Well, look at where you are now. Broke, running an inn, raising a child all on your own”

Not the exact lines, but that’s usually how it would go. But in the end, mom always wants to do what is best.

Eventually, it got to a point where I self-diagnosed myself with high blood pressure because I was always just so angry at the world. I would yell at everyone, I was always so mean to people who did absolutely nothing to me. It was awful. I was awful. And I always blamed mom.

In the car, if I said one word wrong, it sparked an argument. Everything was an argument. I was on my phone for too long. I didn’t talk to her enough. My room was too dirty. I didn’t help watch the kids instead of going to my room and doing homework. My grades weren’t good enough. I slept too long. I slept too little. I didn’t serve my father food. I stayed too late after school at volleyball or soccer. There was nothing I didn’t do that was good enough for her is how I started to understand it. 

Nonetheless, the things she made me do may have turned out for the better in the long run. 

The same way sending Rory to Chilton was Lorelai’s pride. Even if it was expensive and even if it cost her, Lorelai still did it, because she knew that it was the best way to get Rory to college. Lorelai just wanted to protect Rory, the same way my mom wanted to protect me. At least, that’s what I’d like to believe.

Either way, this lasted for years. 

My gateway to freedom from this mess of a grave I created for myself was watching Netflix all day. Specifically, watching shows about mother-daughter relationships. My favorite of these was Gilmore Girls. First, their relationship came off as innocently sweet: reading the same books together, eating together, driving to school, or meeting each other at Lorelai’s Inn. The episodes would always follow with some arguments: sometimes over a boy, school, money, or even pet ownership. But, it would always end with an apology “I’m sorry. It was an accident.”

An argument scene between Rory and Emily Gilmore
Courtesy of Women in Revolt

I started to think as I watched the show, “I wish mom and I were like that too.”

An agony of pain came crashing down while watching it without me even knowing it. I yearned for the same motherly love. Wanting her also to tell me she was proud of me, that she still loved me, and that she still cared about me too. 

When in reality, my mom would never be like that. She will never love me the same way that Lorelai loves Rory. Because she is not Lorelai, and I am not Rory. 

But every day it felt like our relationship was getting worse. Never-ending, never-fixing, ever-long-lasting assumptions of accusations and criticisms.

“Gilmore Girls” became my gateway to happiness. 

I started to stray away from mom, closing off every moving part of my life from her. I was as cold as ice, and as hard as a rock to her. I was an ungrateful piece of [bleep].

As time moved forward, we began to move forward as well. But there was an underlying issue she hadn’t moved on from. My eldest sister.

I felt like I was lacking a mother figure, I went to my sister, not looking for her as a mom, but as a friend. This made my mom grow jealous of the relationship I had with her. But what she didn’t know is that my sister felt the same about my mom alienating us to focus on Jasmine. 

I would tell my sister things, she would relay those things to my mom, my mom got mad about it, and threatened that she would take away all my things if I did it again, repeat.

Kind of like the same way Lane, Rory’s best friend, looked for Lorelai as a mom because she was “laid back” and “cool”. Going to her house to get away from the yelling and arguing, in the sense that maybe it will make her feel a little better about having a “mom” to rely on about things without feeling judged or overlooked.

Naturally, you’re probably thinking, just sit down and have a conversation with her. My response is. That’s impossible. She’s a Hispanic woman who immigrated at a young age to the United States and grew up in a strict household of 11 other kids. She will just argue with me and interrupt me. She won’t listen to a word I say.

Eventually, that golden child I despised so much for being the definition of perfection finally slapped some sense into me. 

“You’re just really mean to her.” my sister said. “She wants to try, but you close her off and turn your back stone cold. Maybe you’re the problem, not her.” 

I never thought to think of it that way. All this time, I felt like my mom was the problem, that the arguments were always because of her but they never were. I was just a shitty kid.

Through every argument, most of the time, I was the one to inflict. I was the one to shoot first, out of frustration. All the anger that had been built up over the years made it worse. 

My eldest sister asked me to do her a favor. I was about to take a nap and I was extremely cranky. Walking out of the door my mom asks, “Hey, where are you going?”. In response, I said, “give me a sec.” Out of crankiness, I raised my voice and made it aggressive, causing her to start complaining to my dad about it and everything I do to her. When I came back, they both started yelling at me so I started to yell back. Even though I felt really bad afterward, I didn’t mean for my tone to come off as aggressive since I was tired. I kept apologizing, constantly after, because I realized how much of a monster I am to her.

I decided to start watching my tone a bit more ever since then. Even to the point where I talk in a cringey baby-like voice just so I don’t give off an aggressive tone.

I must admit, I never apologized to her for everything or anything I said, but I’ve tried to be better. I’ve tried to do better for her. 

Though we’ve had our ups and downs, I never should have treated you the way I did. And I’m sorry. I’m so grateful for you and everything you do for me. I wouldn’t ask for a better mom, because, you are perfection. 

Mom. Thank you. I love you.