From the time I was in high school, my mother and I have been referred to as "Gilmore Girls." We didn't select the nickname ourselves (that honor goes to one of my friends at school who'd been on many road trips with us for dance competitions and school activities), and no, my mom didn't have me at age 16. My dad wasn't like Christopher, off creating Gigis and galavanting around on a motorcycle — he was there with us. I'm not an only child — my brother is one of the coolest humans I know. I didn't go to Yale — but you're pretty swell too, NYU.
By all those standards (you know, the ridiculous ones that demand my life be exactly like the show in order for me to identify with its characters), my mother and I can't be like the Gilmore Girls. But in many ways, we are, and I'd venture there are other young women out there who feel the same way about their mamas. After all, the entire point of this show was that you came for the laughs ("Oy, with the poodles already") but you stayed for the mushy stuff. The stuff that reminds you of your own mother or daughter.
My mother and I don't use this term because we wish were on TV or because we're walking around thinking we should have our own reality show — we know how those go down and we are so not interested, tell us when they're remaking Freaky Friday again though, because we've got some ideas.
We use it because, well, it's fun and because when this show came out, I was about Rory's age and I was dealing very Rory things: boys next door, honor roll, college applications (Stanford was my Harvard at the time). Then, like Rory, I moved off to college, and like Rory I struggled with the changes to our relationship and the fact that my closeness with my mother — who was and is one of my best friends to this day — changed shape when I became an adult. But mostly, we use the Gilmore name as a reminder that our closeness is like a rubberband: always springing back into shape.
Here's what it really means to have a Gilmore Girls mom.
You Have Your Own Language
OK, so it's not really a language, so much as it is a series of half-finished phrases that you and your mom somehow speed through rapid-fire, with total comprehension. Undone references to old movies and that one Whitney Houston song I used to sing at the top of my lungs as a five-year-old fly around at break-neck speed, and the conversation almost always ends in the kind of laughter that I'm pretty sure counts as exercise, if you think about it. My brother has been witness to many of these bon mot fests and he knows better than anyone, that when one of these gets going, it's best to just get out of the way. (A lesson many of the Gilmore dudes could have learned just a little earlier in the game, if you ask me.)
Coffee Is Next To Godliness
How much coffee could you and your mom drink? The limit does not exist. There is nothing quite like fiending for coffee, crawling your way to your local coffee purveyor, then settling down into a couple of seats with all the relief of someone who just finished the New York Marathon. That, of course, is where the real conversation begins. You're finally properly caffeinated and ready to chat about literally anything and absolutely everything: What's going on with that boy you like? Mom, why aren't you dating that cute guy you met at the thing? Call him immediately! What's going on with that mean girl in your calculus class? Go all Donnie Brasco on her yet? Is that guy walking his cat to Major Market? Oh yeah, that's just Ken.
Sure, our town didn't have a Luke's — though we tried to go independent, Starbucks was the only decent coffee in town when I was in high school. But there we sat, at our neighborhood Starbucks — where everyone who worked there knew my name, my life story, which colleges I was looking at and whether I got in — praising the coffee gods for their incredible elixir and chatting about the big picture stuff. Like that guy with his cat.
You Actually Want To Go On Vacation Together
Of course we don't all have magic TV money, so the whole "we visited every country in Europe and brought back enough souvenirs for everyone in town except Luke" bit probably isn't a universal concept, but if you're a true Gilmore Girl in spirit, you know that going on vacation with your mom is one of the best ideas you could possibly have.
My mom and I split it up (London and Paris when I was in college, Italy and Spain just last year), but I can confirm that people-watching on the steps of the Duomo in Florence just isn't quite as satisfying if you do it without you partner in snark.
You're Friends With Eachother's Friends
You know your mom's friends. You've all chatted over coffee (or whatever Sookie's holding) and you're entrusted with their personal details just like your mom is. And vice versa. Hell, my mom has given more than a few of my friends some professional-advice-come-to-Jesus-type chats; she's had coffee with my best friend from high school without me; and more than a few of my friends are in danger of liking my mom more than they like me (keep it in check, folks). The point is, when you're this close with your mom, you have a friend circle to match. And it's pretty great.
Your Fights Are More Intense Than Your Coffee Habit
When you fight, it often feels like the end of the world. Declarations are made, suitcases are packed, and the yelling, oh the yelling. (My suitcases went to my dad's house rather than my grandparents' pool house, but he had a pool, so close enough.) But here's the thing about all this yelling and intense fighting on the rare occasions in which you find yourselves on opposing sides: The only reason you'd ever fight this intensely with someone is because you love them just as intensely. And while it always feels like there's no end in sight, there always, always is.
Even If You're Fighting Your Mom Is Still First On Your Speed Dial
Something terrible happened at work? A professor just ripped you a new one for the first time in your perfectly pristine academic career? You think your boyfriend maybe cheated on you, but technically it wasn't cheating because you were on a break and you're still upset because, dammit, you're allowed to be? Even if you're deep in a fight with your mom, you have to fight the urge to call her with all your might. And eventually, you break. You call her. Because you know you just can't do without her.
And Anyone Who Doubts Any Of This Just Doesn't Understand
Their loss, really.
Images: WB; Kelsea Stahler; Giphy (10)