The TV show Gilmore Girls began to run in 2000, and I missed the first few episodes. But I still smilingly recall the evening I arrived home from some errand or engagement, and found my teenage daughter viewing an early episode. Intrigued, I sat down with her to watch while she explained the premise of the show to me, and the interactions of the characters; the close mother-daughter relationship. Then she said something to me that I will take to my grave as the loveliest compliment my daughter has ever given me: “I think they’re a little bit like us.”
The force of the compliment struck me then, yes, but even more so later, as I began to watch every episode of the program with her. This was a production which portrayed a mother and daughter who loved, cared, disagreed, fought, struggled, and laughed with one another. It was a tale of an extended family who made terrible mistakes in their treatment of each other, and yet somehow managed to at least pretend to get along, if not to resolve their differences. It was an on-going story about not just family, but friends who were more than family, and who, in the end, continually supported and appreciated one another, even when they disagreed.
“I think they’re a little bit like us.”
No mother could ask for higher praise.
By the end of the series, watching the show together had become a weekly ritual that we rarely missed, along with about half the female population of the United States. We laughed and cried and commiserated with the Lorelai and Rory, and their wacky, loveable, wish-it-were-real town of Stars Hollow.
But there was one thing my daughter and I did that was probably not a habit of many of the other viewers: at the end of each episode, we got up and danced together to the theme song. Laughing and making up steps as we went along, dipping and whirling and twirling, week after week, we danced. When she gave me the CD of the music from the show one Christmas, we danced to it again.
We danced. And it struck me once as we did so that, “Someday at your wedding, we need to have a mother-daughter dance!”
Why not? There is always a father-daughter dance on the reception floor. But why not a mother-daughter dance? Who, of anyone, but the mother of the bride has been involved in this whole shebang in the first place? Who, in fact, created this wonderful young woman, this now-beautiful bride, out of the very essence of her own body? Who more than Mom deserves the acknowledgement of a special moment on the dance floor?
A mother-daughter dance. It should, I realized, comprise a part of every wedding reception.
And so it happened that, at my daughter’s wedding, we danced. She and I, in fact, danced the very first dance, still giggling and whirling, and making up steps as we went along—no, not to the theme song of Gilmore Girls, but to ABBA’s “I Have a Dream”—the beautiful, meaningful words and the Greek-like melody so perfect for the wedding day dance of my daughter, who is one-quarter Greek in ancestry.
We laughed and twirled and dipped and showed off our style for all the guests.
I danced with her as I have always danced with her in my heart: laughing in happiness, in limitless joy and pride.
I have many memories of the years I raised my daughter: her graduations; our tears and quarrels and misunderstandings; the hours that I held and comforted her through some slight or tragedy. Every one of those memories is precious to me.
But, of all those joyful moments, I will never forget the moment that I danced with my daughter at her wedding.
Wishing the Happiest Mother’s Day to All Moms Everywhere–Human Moms, Pet Moms, Adoptive Moms, Moms to All the Girls Who Need Them.
Dance, if only in your heart.