How Gilmore Girls Do Money: Lane Kim
The day after the divorce was finalized, Lane woke up to find a text message from her mom:
Good morning Lane. What are you going to do with your life.
She ignored it. She had years of experience ignoring her mother. When she saw the same message the next day, she assumed something had gone wrong; maybe she hadn’t swiped it far enough away and her phone was reminding her it still existed.
On the third day she realized what her mother was doing.
On the fourth day she responded.
You will have to use real words, Lane. I am not going to look up your text slang.
She didn’t respond.
On the fifth day, Lane and her kids went to her mother’s for dinner. Mrs. Kim spent the dinner itself chatting with her grandchildren, but as she and Lane began clearing the table, she asked again: “What are you going to do with your life?”
“I don’t know, mama. I just got divorced. Like, on Monday.”
“So the divorce is over,” Mrs. Kim said. “What are you going to do now?”
“I don’t know, I guess I’ll keep doing what I’m doing?”
“Do you like what you are doing?” Lane never completely trusted her mother; it was often hard to tell where her love for Lane turned into her expectations for her. The question felt like a trap, so Lane immediately blew it up.
“Mama, I’m not going to change my whole life or whatever just because you have some plan for me. I have the twins to take care of. I have responsibilities.”
Mrs. Kim had started running water into the sink to wash the dishes; she turned it off. “I do not have a plan for you. I am asking a question. Do you like what you are doing?”
Lane did not necessarily dislike what she was doing, which was teaching music lessons on an extremely part-time basis while handling the bulk of the childcare duties. She and Zack had never earned enough money to move out of the apartment they rented back in the band days, and while the four of them had been a family, that had felt like it was enough. Now it was just barely enough, with Lane’s income and the child support payments, and the cost of the divorce to pay off.
“It’s fine for now,” she said, because her mother was waiting for an answer.
“That is not the answer I want to hear,” Mrs. Kim said, and Lane felt like she was fifteen again. Of course, the fifteen-year-old version of Lane would have lied. The 30-year-old Lane got angry.
“What answer do you want from me, then?”
“I want you to go after your dreams, not your fine-for-now,” Mrs. Kim said. “You are my talented, beautiful daughter, and the mother of my beautiful grandchildren. Do you want to live the way you are living now for the next year? For the next five years?”
“No,” Lane said. She didn’t even want to go back to the apartment that night, but that was her children’s home. The twins slept in the same bunk beds that Zack and Brian had used, back when they were Hep Alien. She wanted to drag that bunk bed set out into the street and kick it to pieces.
“I’ll ask Sophie if she knows of anyone else who wants drum lessons,” Lane said.
“You’ll ask Sophie for a full-time job in her store,” Mrs. Kim said.
There was the trap; Lane had walked right into it. “Mama, I have the twins. I have to pick them up from school.”
“On the days you work, they can come here. Learn to help in the antique shop.”
“Okay, fine. But how am I going to convince Sophie to give me a job?”
“You have nearly twenty years of retail experience, including inventory and bookkeeping,” Mrs. Kim said. “I have taught you many skills that are transferable to a music store, and you have taught yourself the rest. Sophie will give you a job.”
“So I’ll go work at Sophie’s Music. Great.” Lane felt both frustrated that her mother was pushing her down yet another life path, and also—in a way she would never admit—kind of excited about the idea. She liked Sophie. It would be better than sitting at home.
“That is what you will do tomorrow,” Mrs. Kim said. “It is what you will do to get yourself and your kids out of that terrible apartment and start your new life. But it is not your dream. In a year, you will do your dream.”
“I don’t know what my dream is, mama.”
“You don’t have to know your dream tonight.” Mrs. Kim never smiled, but her eyes looked as if they were smiling. “I will text you tomorrow morning to ask you.”
Previously, on How Gilmore Girls Do Money: Taylor Doose