Downton Abbey by Claire Borden


My mom and I love to watch TV together. There is no better feeling than coming home with our favorite takeout and turning on an episode of our show. For us, TV is an immersive experience. When we would watch America’s Next Top Model we would pretend to be Tyra Banks for hours after finishing the episode, debating whether our cats were more “high fashion” or “commercial” and practicing our smize. As we watched the models get judged, we would critique their photos with the authority of professional models. 

After we finished the later seasons, which were our favorite, we decided we needed to find a new show. My mom suggested Downton Abbey, a popular period drama about a wealthy family in England.  I reluctantly agreed, but I did not have high hopes. How could anything replace the drama and artistry of Top Model? Boy was I in for a treat. I was enthralled by whirlwind romance, witty dialogue, stunning landscapes and outfits, not to mention those accents! While watching Top Model worked us into a frenzy with eliminations and screaming matches between models, Downton Abbey soothed us and let us escape to a world without  responsibility, where ladies maids and valets dress you for dinner, and your biggest problem is finding an heir to inherit your fortune. In order to complete the experience, we usually watch an episode with a cup of earl grey (like the earl of grantham) and some sort of pastry or sweet in hand, and our cats on our laps. It is our sacred time. 

But what I love most about it is that it’s something for my mom and I to do together to relax. It’s a built in hour that I get to spend with her, which is not to be taken for granted given how busy we both are. It sort of reminds me of the way she used to read to me, a chapter every night before bed of a book we would choose together. I want to treasure every moment with her before I go to college, because even though I hate thinking about it, this is probably the last time I will ever live under her roof and be able to call upstairs for her, instead of calling her on the phone.

We are almost finished with Downton Abbey. It feels bittersweet and symbolic of how I am approaching my senior year and 18th birthday. Although it makes me sad, I am also excited to create a new tradition, and I know no matter how old I get, I will prioritize spending time with my mom and creating special rituals for us.

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