There is an episode of Damages, where Tate Donovan’s character is disparagingly referred to as Glenn Close’s number 2. I remember when I first saw it that I liked being number 2. At that point, I had been an assistant manager at a bookstore where I had become best friends with my store manager. She excelled at her job description and I back-up her up. For the time that it worked, it worked wonderfully.
For some reason tonight this idea converged on the concept of mother figures. I’ve realized for half of my life that I tend towards them. I’ve have many female friends who are 10+ years my elder. And even some of the ones who are my age have been/are motherly figures.
I hung out with one of my oldest friends tonight. Technically, one of my minor oldest friends, since me met as adults. She always seemed to be the scattered one so I never realized what a nurturer she had been TO ME. I knew she had joked that she had the, “Florence Nightingale syndrome,” when it came to her boyfriends. Her life seemed so reckless to me, so driven by feeling, or whimsy, that I felt myself to be the more mature/together. But I loved her friendship because I never had to hide my scary/dark self from her.
She wanted to do my make-up the other day. I don’t know if she sensed that I had sunk into a place where I had largely stopped being a WOMAN in the fun ways. But she insisted on doing my make-up and taking pictures, and somehow Iooked 20 lbs, and 5 years younger in those pics.
And here we are all these years later. . . she’s a mother, I’m an aunt, and I realized she has been a bit of a mother figure to me, too. She has been my place of acceptance, the place where my own mother couldn’t accept me because she was of a different generation. She has always believed in me even though her gifts were so much better than mine.
But she’s not the only one. She was actually one of the seemingly exceptions. I’ve always tended towards strong females, usually older than me. Even when they were my age, they were amazingly strong girls/women and I was proud to be their backup. Can you imagine the kind of secrets you’d be privy to if you were Robin to Batman?
I like being number 2. I really don’t have to be number 1. I like being a leader, but I like being part of a team. I can lead if I have to, but I think I work better in the long run if I don’t lead alone.