My mom and I used to have the same fight every single day. It was the summer between my Junior and Senior year of high-school, so she would make a list of chores for me before leaving for work. She would call every day around 11 o’clock to make sure I had completed them, but I was always still in bed.
This enraged my mother.
I finally asked her one morning why she continued to call when she knew exactly what was going to happen.
“Why do you call when you know I’m still in bed? You know I’ll do the chores eventually, but not until I get up. You’re just going to get mad so why bother calling?”
There was a brief moment of silence, when Mom might have considered my question.
Then she completely lost her mind.
This particular conversation is what the movie Lady Bird is all about.
Saoirse Ronan plays Christine, or as she calls herself, Lady Bird. She is a senior in high school who is trying to make her way in a world that keeps pulling the rug out from under her. She has one best-friend she can count on, and a father who spoils her, but Lady Bird’s relationship with her Mom is essentially one long fight.
Any woman (or man who grew up with sisters) will recognize these patented mother-daughter arguments. They’re persistent, infuriating and usually over the same 3 or 4 things. These battles eventually turn into a kind of love-language though, that you hate as a child but smile about when you grow up. They’re also one of the reasons women run as far and as fast from their moms as possible, only to find themselves longing for the very thing they escaped.
Writer-Director Greta Gerwig says that Lady Bird is only semi-autobiographical, because Christine’s mother (Laurie Metcalf) is nothing like her own. Gerwig wanted to examine the singular tension between Moms and daughters though, and how it stems from being essentially the same person. It’s something I’m constantly aware of as I raise my own daughters. They simply want to live their own lives, but I see the things I want to “fix.” I remember the things my own Mom did that made me crazy, and try not repeat them. Minutes later, I’m chasing my daughters with a hairbrush and screaming, “Surely you’re not going out like THAT!”
The cycle continues.
As I drove away from Lady Bird last night, I remembered the very last fight I ever had with my Mom. Continue reading →