One of my guilty pleasures is TLC on Friday nights. They’ve started calling Friday= “Bride Day” because the evening block is comprised of (right now) “Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids” and “My Big, Fat Gypsy Wedding.” I could easily watch these shows for hours! Part of it is straight of voyeurism… getting a glimpse into the lives of someone different from me, the other is straight up entertainment. (Plus some of the dresses are so gaudy!)
No matter the show, the episodes that are really the most difficult to watch are the ones in which the Bride has lost her mother to death. It’s funny, they all say just about the same thing… they are comforted by the fact that their mother is there in spirit, but at the same time, they feel grown up… that they are really no longer a child.
I can appreciate that feeling. Even though I have an amazing stepmother, a loving MIL, and an aunt who is just a beacon in my life, the moment that it sunk in that my mother had died was when I stopped being a child and I was officially a grown-up. It didn’t matter that my mom and I were estranged for a few years, or that we were not as close as other mother-daughter pairs, I was still her little girl and she was still my mom. Once the role of mom vanishes, the little girl ceases to be little.
It’s funny, it seems in our society we seem to look at certain points in life as signposts of being grown: high school graduation, first job, college graduation, marriage, child-bearing and maybe we become a little more grown up at each of these points in our lives, but when you really think about it, the title of “child” requires the complementary title of “parent.” So, I guess to me, one really isn’t grown up until one or both parents are… gone.
(Don’t misunderstand, my dad is alive and well, it’s just that we really do not have much of a connection… we’re working on it, just like my mom and I worked on ours.)
What do you think? When are we “grown-up?” Do we ever grow up? Does it matter which parent dies?