Fisher’s story familiar to many mothers and daughters
Last week, America lost actress Carrie Fisher, the coolest Hollywood princess we ever knew.
A day later, America lost Debbie Reynolds. She also was a Hollywood icon but, more important, she was Carrie Fisher’s mother.
If you follow Hollywood chisme, you know they had their moments. Carrie didn’t want to be around her mother; Debbie was only trying to help her daughter; Carrie drank a lot, and eventually they became next-door neighbors. Take away the Hollywood part, and you probably know a mother and daughter who have a similar story.
You might be half of one of these pairs.
If not, you are likely related to them. If not, they live on your street. That’s because every daughter has a mother, and most mothers and daughters have complicated relationships.
Becoming a mother can be tough. You are a parent, of course, but you’re also the baby’s entire entourage. You carry the diaper bag, and you should carry a change of clothes you should have picked based on the weather report. If you’re a good mom, you should know the last time she ate, pooped, slept, coughed, smiled and burped.
Being a daughter can be tough, too. Your mom, after all, is only doing her best to make sure you grow up to be a productive member of society. That’s why you can’t watch movies she thinks are too grown-up, even though you already know that, in real life, the whale from “Free Willy” died. You can’t wrestle with your male cousins, even though you are bigger and can pin a humiliating defeat on all of them, because it’s not feminine. And you can’t wear lipstick, either, even though you want to look feminine.
There’s the eye rolls and remarks that were meant as funny but didn’t come out that way. The passive-aggressive habladas. The misunderstandings that create hurt feelings that turn into yearlong grudges. The tears that come when nobody’s looking, because whyyyyyy does she alwayyyyys have to do this to meeeee? It’s enough to drive you crazy, and it often does.
Not all women have this kind of relationship with their mother or daughter. But those of us who do are far from being alone.
These relationships are as complicated as the two-woman, weeks-long search for the perfect swimsuit or the perfect prom dress. It’s as genuine as that raised eyebrow that happens when you say that, yes, you DID look in the mirror and you ARE going to wear that outfit to your prima’s wedding. And it’s as honest as that hug that says, no te apures, ’ama — I’ll take care of it.
It was reported that, while planning her daughter’s funeral, Debbie Reynolds said she missed her daughter and wanted to “be with Carrie.” Hours later, she died.
Maybe these relationships aren’t so complicated.