Rebecca Explaining "What It Means to Be a Parent" on This Is Us Had Us Nodding Through Sobs
Warning: This Is Us season two spoilers lie ahead.
During the ninth episode of the second season of This Is Us, "Number Two," Rebecca (Mandy Moore), the Pearson family matriarch, has a rare and touching moment with her teenage daughter, Kate. With their turbulent relationship coming to a head after Rebecca finds out that Kate was secretly applying to Berklee College of Music, the pair reconcile in their own ways while they're sitting in the hospital waiting room together after Kevin's football accident.
Kate apologizes for keeping her application a secret, but she was worried about not getting in — which she said would "crush" her — and more importantly, she didn't want to disappoint her mom on top of that. However, Rebecca explains to her daughter that she can't actually be disappointed with her — she can only be disappointed for her — because of what it means to be a parent.
"My mom was tough," Rebecca tells Kate. "I mean, you know that, you've seen it. She was just a closed, steel door. And even if you could get through, there was a room full of spikes right behind it. I always wanted to have a daughter because I wanted to do it a different way. I wanted to be the mom that had her arms wide open just waiting for you to fall in if you needed it. And somehow, I don't know, we just never got there, did we?"
"Mom—," Kate starts.
"No, it's not your job to make me feel better," Rebecca counters. "It's not — it's my job. It's my job to keep standing there with my arms wide open, waiting for you to maybe someday fall inside if you needed it. And if you do, I'll love you. And if you don't, I'll love you, too — because that's what it means to be a parent. You'll see one day."
And fall inside her arms Kate finally does, about 20 years later when Rebecca shows up to hers and Toby's apartment after the couple suffer a miscarriage (making the last line of Rebecca's heartwarming speech absolutely gut-wrenching). While we got basically instant gratification in terms of witnessing that emotional hug between the two just moments after the waiting room scene, to imagine Rebecca waiting 20 years for it to happen is, in a way, bittersweet. Although it's heartbreaking, that's what she said she'd do, after all.
If that doesn't make you nod your head through chest-wracking sobs and hold your babies a little tighter, we don't know what will.