Mother: Brittany (Age 46)
Daughter: Vanna (Age 21)
Daughter: Lena (Age 23)
Brittany and Vanna: Tampa, Florida
Lena lives with her boyfriend in Jacksonville, Florida
Like the real-life version of the movie, “Nell” mother, Brittany homeschooled and raised her two daughters, Brittany and Vanna in rural Georgia, outside of normal society. They never had cell phones, computers or social media; their only experience of the outside world was curated by their mother. From the day they were born, Brittany raised her two daughters to be extremely close to her. To this day, Brittany likens her mom/daughter/familial dynamic to herds of animals with mom acting as the leader of the pack. In mom’s perspective, in order for their family to survive it’s critical that the “pack” stick together, no matter what. On one hand, mom’s strict and untraditional way of raising her girls made them incredibly close, connected and creative, however, the isolation made it so that the girls became overly dependent on one another and not equipped to deal with the real world. Dating, friends, jobs, are all areas in their lives that they are struggling with. Now, Lena has left the nest and Brittany and Vanna are desperate to get her back as they believe that the survival of their family depends on it. If Lena doesn’t move home within one month Brittany and Vanna have vowed to disown Lena and never let her back into the family unit. The family is in crisis mode.
Lena has always rebelled against mom’s many rules and strict upbringing. Unlike Vanna, Lena didn’t like being under the control and scrutiny of her mom and wanted to leave the nest. Lena recently met her boyfriend Mike online and after two dates decided to move in with him, much to the dismay of her mother and sister. Brittany and Vanna hate that Lena lives in a different city than them. They don’t approve of Mike because his significantly older than her (Mike is 44) and they also think that he isn’t helping her grow and succeed in life. Brittany thinks that Mike purposely isn’t helping her get a car or a license, and isn’t helping her get a real job and instead encouraging her to stay at home and cook and clean. Brittany and Vanna feel that she’s becoming a kept woman and she’s being taken advantage of and they’ve tried everything in their control to get Lena back, including pre-interviewing potential single men for Lena to date if she were to move home.
Brittany and Vanna want to make an agreement with Lena: move home for two months to experience what a better version of her life could be. During that time Lena will live at home, she’ll date men who are more appropriate matches and she’ll pursue better career opportunities with the help of her mom and sister. Most importantly, the mom/daughter family unit will be reunited. If, at the end of two months Lena still thinks that life with Mike is better, she can return to him, no questions asked. Lena is nervous about returning to the smothering nature of her mother’s home and thinks that it’s unfair that she is being forced to choose. Lena thinks that if Mike and her mother were to simply meet each other that this situation could be resolved.
Vanna has been struggling with a strange, painful lump on the side of her face. The doctors believe that it’s a branchial cyst, but they aren’t positive until they do an MRI. It needs to be drained using large needles. It’s terrifying and nerve wracking for Vanna and she wants her sisters and her mother’s support while she undergoes and procedure.
In the meantime, Brittany and Vanna are building a life for themselves. That means finding men, starting a business and creating a social life. Brittany really wants Vanna to date and find a man to take care of her, so she helps her daughter online-date. And, since Vanna doesn’t drive, mom drives her to all of her dates. Naturally, it’s awkward to pull up to a date and explain why mom is dropping her off! They generally lie and say mom is the Uber driver. Additionally, mom wants to find a man for herself as well. In their opinion, they want men to take care of them as opposed to getting traditional jobs. Brittany admits that even if she finds someone she still wants to live with her daughter, and even sleep in the same bed with her several nights a week.
In 2017 a tornado hit their home in Georgia and they’ve been forced to evacuate and have lived in a nomadic life, finally settling in Florida living with a family friend where they now live. Brittany and Vanna have thousands of dollars’ worth of industrial sewing equipment in storage in Georgia. With Lena’s help, they want to take a trip to Georgia together to get the equipment and start a sewing business of their own, creating costumes, dresses and pieces on commission. It’s a passion project and a way for them to make some money and make life for themselves.
Brittany always wanted to be a mom from a very young age. So when her boyfriend at the time said that he wasn’t ready to be a father, she said, “that’s fine, as long as you give me children.” As unorthodox as it may seem, the father (Peter) conceded and gave Brittany two daughters. Now, Peter is expressing interest in meeting the girls and playing an active role in their lives for the first time. Although he met them when there were infants, he has not met them as adults. The women are excited and curious who their father is. Naturally, they have plenty of questions. Peter is excited, but he isn’t entirely convinced that Lena is his biological daughter. Brittany wants to her daughters to meet their father, but is protective and doesn’t want anyone to interfere in their relationship or dynamic. Interestingly enough, Peter’s mother is very protective and smothering over him as well.
· Vanna massages Brittany every-night before bed
· They have mommy/baby time where they cuddle and spend time together
· They sleep in the same bed, often times naked together
· They are germaphobes who can’t touch the ground with their bare feet
· They open door handles with the tips of their fingers and if Vanna doesn’t open a door correctly Brittany makes her redo it
Because Lena refuses to live under the grasp of her smothering mother, she moved in with a man she barely knows. Vanna and Brittany are worried that Lena is in a bad situation with a man who is taking advantage of her naïveté. They want her to move home, back to the safety of her family, if she refuses they vow to cut her off from the family. Lena, on the other hand believes that Vanna and Brittany are unhealthily enmeshed and they are enabling each other’s insular ways that are prohibiting them from living a normal life.