I've decided that if I can be half the mom Tami Taylor is, I'll have achieved something profoundly momentous in life.
Meredith Hoffa: Earlier this month, when NBC announced its post-Olympics schedule, fans of Friday Night Lights got word that the show's fourth season will begin airing April 30th. (Those with DirecTV are already getting a sneak peek.) Initially this news caused me to pout and stomp. April is SPRING, for cripes sake, and light years away. But then I reminded myself that I'm deeply in love with Friday Night Lights and as such, I will do anything it says, and if that means waiting patiently, adoringly, until April, then so be it. Besides, I've since discovered that simply having a concrete start date on the horizon is actually good enough, as it fills me with a dizzying, very pleasant level of anticipation.
FNL is so many things to me: It is an opportunity to harbor possibly inappropriate crushes (They're not really teenagers, right? Just actors *playing* teenagers. Right?). It's also an opportunity -- much to my husband's excitement -- for me to get a little interested in football, a sport which I've previously dismissed as a silly, lame snoozefest of a game featuring man-children -- sometimes fattish ones -- alternately scurrying around in a tag-like fashion and falling on top of each other, then fighting over a tiny ball while lying on the ground (I still kind of think this). Additionally, FNL provides me with an opportunity to exercise my creativity; I know I'm not the only one who has choreographed a modern dance routine to the opening credits' hauntingly beautiful theme music.
Most of all, though, now that I have a baby, FNL is an opportunity for me to learn how to be a parent.
I've decided that if I can be half the mom Tami Taylor is, I'll have achieved something profoundly momentous in life. (Allow me to introduce you to this Facebook group: I wish Coach Eric and Tami Taylor were my parents.) DoubleT is my mama role model -- and not just because of that hair of hers, so swingy and gleaming and luscious, as if she does a hot oil treatment every day. No, the main reason Tami dazzles me is that in today's era of hovering, helicoptering moms, she stands out as a whole different parental creature entirely. She's not Betty Draper, but she's not one of those martyr-y, over-involved, coddling moms either. She leads her own life and gives her daughter Julie space to lead hers, though of course this is not achieved without struggle; Tami wrestles constantly to try to find a balance between holding on to her little girl and letting her grow up.
Take the Big Sex Talk (see above) she had with Julie near the end of last season. Despite Julie's stonewalling, Tami admirably forced the conversation to happen, and she forced them to speak concretely. And even though Tami wanted Julie to wait and not have sex with Matt, what ultimately ensued between mom and daughter was a real and honest exchange that was so intimate it sort of took my breath away. There was no shouting, no lecturing. Tami just asked questions and listened. There was awkwardness galore. Squirms. But that scene -- which I think may just embody the very definition of bittersweet -- struck me as triumphant and invigorating in every way. Surely if I saw it again today, now that I have a baby girl, I'd end up a sopping puddle on the floor, since these days every mother/daughter portrayal -- a Quaker Oats commercial, an SPCA poster picturing a dog with her pups -- causes my heart to explode into tiny, achy, love-flavored chunks.
So I will wait patiently until April. And when that time comes, I will be watching. And taking notes. And, of course, dancing my famous solo. And possibly weeping. But definitely, definitely taking notes.
|Meredith Hoffa's first-person writing has appeared in The New York Times, Boston Globe Magazine, Fit Pregnancy, Business Traveler, and the new anthology, "Rejected" (Villard/Random House, 2009). She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.|