This past television season has had a number of excellent new shows, and one of my favourites is Body of Proof with Dana Delany. She plays Megan Hunt, a medical examiner who balances her professional life -- dealing with the process of analyzing the clues on bodies and solving cases -- with trying to manage her personal life as a single mother reconnecting with her estranged 13 year-old daughter, Lacey. Ah, yes. The show must be written by a single mother, because she understands completely the dialogue of dramatic, overwrought teenagers, and the frustrations of the single mother trying to navigate those shark-infested waters. The interactions between Megan and Lacey are true to life. Lacey, of course, being the know-it-all teenager, has no respect for her mother until one day she visits her mother's office. When she sees her mother in action in her professional life, Lacey's opinion of her mother is profoundly changed. Her mother is no longer just the "parental unit", but a highly respected specialist in her field, and Lacey sees her mother as a whole other person whom she had no idea existed. I guess there is some benefit in "take your daughter to work" day.
Lacey is hovering in that grey area between childhood and young adulthood, and she pushes the envelope, as all kids that age do. At first, Megan is filled with apprehension; she doesn't know how to deal with her daughter -- how much freedom to allow her, and how much to reign her in. As the weeks go on, they both begin to learn that a compromise is somewhere in between. In one episode, Megan has hired an interior designer to decorate Lacey's new bedroom, but Lacey wants to do it herself. Megan finally gives in and allows her daughter to decorate her own bedroom, with her mother's help. This is something that all parents can identify with, and especially single parents.
The one thing that was obvious to me was that, when Lacey's father retreated to the background for a while, Lacey's relationship with her mother improved. There was no longer that "push-me-pull-you" division of accountability that often happens with divorced parents. Sometimes, without even being aware of it, parents will use the child as the conduit for their own conversation. You will hear the child "parroting" what one parent is saying, when having a dialogue with the other parent. Everyone loses when that starts to happen. A child's relationship with a parent is not similar in any way to the relationship the two parents have with each other. So, without Dad in the picture for a little while, Megan and Lacey are going through the healing process and re-establishing their relationship, and they are able to have some time to do it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for them.
It's a great show. If you haven't seen it, check it out.