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I Binge-Watched ‘Gilmore Girls’ with My 8-Year-Old, and Here’s What She Learned

See below for how you can enter to win a one-of-a-kind Gilmore Girls binge candle!

Thanks to Netflix, I was able to finally understand why there is a cult following bowing at the altar of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. After screening a few episodes of Gilmore Girls on my own, I invited my 8-year-old daughter to join me — and she was immediately hooked.

It became our special time together. We’d settle in for an episode or two at a time and talk about what was happening as we watched it (with only an occasional shout of “EARMUFFS” or “CLOSE YOUR EYES” at age-inappropriate moments). As with all great TV we’ve enjoyed together, the stories resonated with us, the emotions hit us, and the characters became a reference point in our conversations, meaning this fun escape turned into a great opportunity for me as a mom.

Right now my little girl is slowly being released into the world to make her own way in life. I’ve been laying the framework for years to help her build a path that takes her wherever it is that makes her happy. Now, what mom says is one thing, but watching examples unfold for her beloved characters onscreen as they make their choices is another. We’re not bystanders in our lives, we’re the ones who can make it better or worse for ourselves through the decisions we make along the way.

Here are some of the decisions she watched being made and their aftermath as we drank in all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls. Will they affect how she moves forward with her own? We’ll have to wait and see.

On choosing your family.

Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix
Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix

The close-knit town of Stars Hollow took Lorelai in as a teen mom, giving her the support and opportunities she and her daughter needed to never feel like they were missing out, despite no longer speaking to the parents she left behind. This feeling of family continued with friendships in high school and college that were more like sisterhoods, and relationships with the potpourri of townsfolk that ranged from easy to complicated, but were always authentic.

Real-life takeaway: My daughter has a loving family she was born into, but she should keep her eyes open to expanding it with anyone who she feels should be added to it.

On being yourself.

Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix
Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix

Stars Hollow was a kaleidoscope of colorful, quirky personalities — from the Gilmore girls themselves, to naps-with-garden-veggies Jackson, lawn-ornament-loving Babette, Queen of TMI Miss Patty, all the troubadours, and more. The right people found each of them and appreciated them exactly as they were. Yes, even Kirk had his Lulu!

Real-life takeaway: There is nothing wrong with being weirdly, perfectly you. As long as you’re genuine, your people will find you.

On allowing loved ones to grow and change.

Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix
Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix

All of the most successful friendships in this show were between people who gave one another room to change and grow. Rory and Lane continually had differing lifestyles, but were always completely accepting of each others’ choices. Sookie and Lorelai proved successful in friendship and business throughout marriages, breakups, babies, and their many differing opinions.

Real-life takeaway: Just because the people you care about are different now, doesn’t mean your relationship needs to end.

On being uncool.

Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix
Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix

When Rory’s classmates Madeline and Louise snuck out of the Bangles concert to go to a boy’s apartment, Lorelai dropped the cool mom charade and ripped into them — which they deserved — and Rory was perfectly fine with it. When Lorelai graduated from business school, her proper parents lost their fight against sloppy tears of pride while watching her cross the stage, which is all their daughter ever wanted. Meanwhile, Jess’ biggest obstacle in his own life was his inability to stop being the coolest guy in the room.

Real-life takeaway: Trying to impress people isn’t as important as you might think.

On putting in the hard work.

Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix
Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix

Chilton Prep was much tougher than the public high school Rory was used to, but she gave up sleep and a social life to succeed, then kept it up at Yale. Lorelai started from nothing as a displaced teen mom taken in by Independence Inn owner, Mia, but busted her butt to move up the ranks from maid to manager until the day came when she could buy and run her own inn. Luke wanted to be the kind of man who knew how to be in a successful romantic relationship with Lorelai, so he read up on the matter until he saw the fruits of his labor in her eyes.

Real-life takeaway: If you really want something, do something about it.

On not letting a difficult personality turn you away.

Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix
Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix

Sometimes the best people in our lives are the ones who make it hard to love them. Paris was clear right off the bat that she and Rory were enemies —until they became the best of friends because Rory refused to fuel the fire. Luke and Jess bumped heads because they were so alike, something they acknowledged to themselves which allowed them to forgive each other’s more frustrating behaviors. Michel was snobby, elitist, and cranky on the best of days, but Lorelai saw through it to all the good in him,and spread the word that he was more bark than bite. Everyone in town (and at home) wanted to throw something at Taylor Doose at one point or another, but they also agreed that the thing which made him most annoying was his deep love of Stars Hollow and his desperation to honor it.

Real-life takeaway: Don’t think the first impression of prickly people is all they have to offer.

On unapologetically eating.

Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix
Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix

So many shows thrive on an ongoing punchline about women on constant diets, worrying about weight and what people might think if they see them eat too much, but the pleasure of food was a major factor on Gilmore Girls. Everyone chose to enjoy it rather than unhealthily obsess about it. Beautiful meals were prepared during Friday night dinners. Rory and Lorelai rarely had anything in their fridge, so they spent loads of time letting Luke take care of them in the form of pancakes, burgers, and coffee. Festivals, weddings, and parties were spent eating, sharing, and talking about food and drink.

Real-life takeaway: Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself!

On hurting people who hurt you.

Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix
Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix

Lorelai had been devastated by her mom’s harsh reaction to her unexpected pregnancy, and made her pay for it by keeping her from Rory. That choice hurt more than just her mom. As for Rory, her college sidekick Marty had been a hoot as they navigated her freshman year together. But the next time they met, he was downright cruel to her just because she didn’t have the same romantic feelings for him the year before. Did destroying Rory’s new friendships really make him feel better about the past? Nope. And it didn’t help his present, either.

Real-life takeaway: No relationship only has two players in it, so seeking revenge to hurt someone doesn’t always pay off.

On making your love loud and clear.

Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix
Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix

Max’s thousand-yellow-daisies proposal to Lorelai was breathtaking. Dean’s building a car as a surprise birthday gift for Rory was adorable. Luke showing Lorelai the horoscope she wrote that had been sitting in his pocket for years and telling her, “I’m all in,” left nothing to question. Logan taking a helicopter to the hospital when Rory’s grandfather was admitted said more than words could.

Real-life takeaway: Know when the message needs to be so clear there is no room for interpretation.

On swallowing your pride.

Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix
Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix

Lorelai knew that the only way she could give Rory the education she deserved was to ask for money from the last people she wanted to. The condition her mom put down — Friday night dinners, no matter what — seemed torturous at first, but it became the catalyst for bringing the family back together. And what a beautiful reward that was.

Real-life takeaway: The good that can come out of swallowing your pride can be greater than you’d ever expect.

On insisting on something being what somebody else needs.

Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix
Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix

Emily wanted Christopher and Lorelai together, so she made it her goal to break Lorelai and Luke up. The good intentions did not take her daughter’s feelings into consideration, and resulted in the biggest heartbreak of Lorelai’s adult life, damaging their mother-daughter relationship once more. The major flaw? The person who would have benefited the most from those two getting back together would have been Emily — but she refused to see it.

Real-life takeaway: Really know your intentions before forcing something on a loved one under the pretense of, “It’s for their own good.”

On paying for mistakes.

Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix
Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix

Yes, some people got away with bad behavior (ahem, Jess), but others paid a price that made a lasting impression. Rory’s first act of rebellion landed her in jail and 300 hours of community service. Emily lost Lorelai all over again when she caused the Luke breakup that devastated her daughter (and every GG fan, like, ever) that threw her off the rails completely. It took a lot of legwork to earn back their relationship.

Real-life takeaway: You will screw up, but you will learn from it.

On keeping stories alive.

Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix
Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix

Hardly an episode went by without someone holding a dog-eared novel, plopping down at the town theater, or playing their part in one of the town’s wacky re-enactments. Taylor Doose’s whole life was about making sure no one forgot about Stars Hollow’s past, and Rory became a reporter to make sure everyone knew what was going on in the present. Over and over again people chose to participate in storytelling.

Real-life takeaway: Sharing stories is an endless thread that ties all kinds of people together.

On continuing to grow.

Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix
Image Source: Gilmore Girls via Netflix

They all might have lived in a small town, but they sure didn’t live under a rock. Miss Patty put on productions that reveled in her long career but gave her new challenges. Pop culture references and news topics were in the townspeople’s daily chatter. Many episodes featured characters learning new skills (Lane and her drums!) or going back to school. They all had a pretty comfortable life in Stars Hollow, but they never settled for status quo and it always turned out to be the best choice they could make.

Real-life takeaway: Even when you have it good, you can choose to make it better.

I’ll always be thankful for how a little show about a mom-daughter duo started many important conversations for this mom-daughter duo. The imperfections of these wonderful characters firmly planted them in our hearts, and we look forward to seeing what they’re all up to once the last four chapters of their stories are told.

***

It looks like we’re not the only ones excited for the latest installment of Gilmore Girls.

A recent study by Netflix has discovered that globally 62% of mothers and daughters say sharing TV shows helps build a stronger relationship. What better way to upgrade your mother-daughter binge-watching experience than with a one-of-a-kind Gilmore Girls Binge Candle? Lucky for you, Babble is prepared with an awesome giveaway!

Babble is giving away one (1) Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life candle, to twenty (20) lucky winners!  These candles literally burn as you binge. Each layer aligns with a different seasonal scent and burns for exactly 90 minutes – the length of one episode of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. To enter for your chance to win, all you have to do is tell us, in one sentence, who do you think is best suited for Rory?

Sweepstakes ends November 29, 2016.

To enter, click “see comments” below this post. You must include “#GilmoreGirlsBabbleSweepstakes” within your Facebook Comment. Do not include anything else in your comment except these 2 items. Doing so, may disqualify you from the sweepstakes. Get the full details on this awesome sweepstakes below, and get commenting!

Specific Rules:

  1. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning will depend on the total number of eligible entries received. See the complete General Rules and eligibility requirements that apply to all Sweepstakes here.
  2. To enter, click “see comments” below this post, and leave a Facebook Comment telling us in one sentence, who do you think is best suited for Rory? You must include “#GilmoreGirlsBabbleSweepstakes within your Facebook Comment.
  3. Only 1 entry per person is allowed.
  4. The Sweepstakes entry period starts on Monday, November 21, 2016 at 11AM EST and ends on Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 at 5 PM EST.
  5. The retail value of the prizes for this sweepstakes is $0.00 (US).
  6. We will choose twenty (20) potential winner in a random drawing on or around, Monday, December 5th, 2016 and send notice to those twenty (20) people by replying to your comment on Facebook. (You will get a notification on Facebook if we have replied.)
  7. If you are a potential winner but fail to claim your prize within 10 days of us sending you notice or are otherwise in non-compliance with the Sweepstakes rules (both General Rules and these Specific Rules), then we will choose an alternate winner.
  8. We will announce the winners here on or around Thursday, December 15th, 2016 at 3:00 PM EST. By entering, you give us permission to include your first name (or the name provided on your Facebook account) in our winner announcement.
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