Like Mother, Like Daughter — Finding Beauty And Strength In Each Other

By Callie Ginter The Keene Sentinel, N.H.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Great article on one mother-daughter relationship. According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of the book "Mother-Daughter Wisdom","the mother-daughter relationship is the most powerful bond in the world, for better or for worse. It sets the stage for all other relationships."

The Keene Sentinel, N.H.

It felt like the end of the world for Jennifer Parenteau when her daughter Sarah didn't talk to her for two months.

And if you know the Keene mother-daughter duo, the thought of them not talking for even a day seems unfathomable.

They laugh the same way, they move the same way, and they smile the same way -- from the eyes. It isn't hard to tell they're close.

Perhaps the only thing capable of separating the two is Keene's Main Street; they work on opposite sides: Jennifer at Prime Roast Coffee and Sarah at Synergy Sportswear.

Jennifer, 51, and Sarah Parenteau, 23, have a profound mother-daughter bond, one that strangers often stop and comment on. Not only because they look similar enough to be sisters, but because of the enchanting energy they give off when they're together -- and they're together a lot.

But they've shared struggles, and in their pain found strength in each other.

"It was horrible. I cried every night," Jen said remembering the period four years ago when Sarah temporarily checked herself out of her mom's life, after her parents decided to live apart.

"My mom left my dad which was really hard for me ... I felt like it was her fault she was breaking up my family," Sarah said.

"It was hard: because I had to reach out to my brothers more; because I was ignoring my mom, and there was so much I'd normally go to her for, and I didn't have that at the time; because I had to stay strong and be mad at her, because that's what seemed right at the time," she continued.

"But I fully understand now that that wasn't the case," Sarah said. "And now looking back, I think it's one of the best things they could have done because they've both become happier."

Jen, who grew up at 217 Roxbury St. in Keene, said she wished she discovered at an early age the importance of self-worth and a desire to never settle in life. And because she didn't, she made sure to teach them to her daughter.

"I raised them the way I wish I had been raised," Jen said.

Sarah thinks she and her brothers were raised well.

"You and Dad were the perfect combination of friends but strict," Sarah said.

"And after spending so much time together, I think your qualities and personality have rubbed off on me. I think you've influenced my personality, and I think it has a lot to do with the way you raised us. You did a really good job, Mom," Sarah said to her mom.

The Parenteau ladies are fortunate they have such a strong relationship. After all, "the mother-daughter relationship is the most powerful bond in the world, for better or for worse. It sets the stage for all other relationships," according to Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of the book "Mother-Daughter Wisdom."

According to an article on the website Body+Soul, Northrup says that no other childhood experience is as compelling as a young girl's relationship with her mother.

"Each of us takes in at a cellular level how our mother feels about being female, what she believes about her body, how she takes care of her health, and what she believes is possible in life," according to Northrup.

Jen certainly knows how to take care of herself, and that's one of many things Sarah's learned from her. The Parenteau women know about health and exercise.

You can often find the mother-daughter duo at Option 1 Fitness on Winchester Street. They've been working out together for the past six years -- first at Gold's Gym, then Total Fitness Zone, then Goulet Strength and Fitness before finding their current home. And as much as it's work for them, it's also bonding time.

"It used to be with 25 pounds (weights) and her with 5 pounds, but now it's opposite," Jen said laughing.

"And I'm her personal cameraman. We take a lot of pictures on the selfie and in the mirror," Jen said, prompting Sarah to make fun of her for misusing the term "selfie."

They can also be found in each other's place of work, when Jen is delivering coffee to her daughter, or Sarah's getting coffee or meter money from her mom.

"And I've met more people by coming into the coffee shop than anywhere else," Sarah said. "Or random people, who I have no idea who they are, ask me if I'm Jen's daughter," she continued.

Sarah said she finds the constant comparison flattering.

"I hope I'm like her when I'm that age," Sarah said.

Emily Lavigne, Jen's co-worker, enjoys seeing Jen and Sarah interact.

"When Sarah comes in, she's always smiling," said Lavigne, 27, of Keene.

"You can tell how much they love each other, even when they make fun of each other. Sarah's a welcome addition to our little family," Lavigne said.

In addition to all the personal time they spend with one another, Jen and Sarah have also worked together.

They worked at Synergy for five years. After that, Sarah got a job at Bulldog Athletics, where her mother joined her six months later.

"We get along really well, so it's never been an issue," Sarah said.

Despite that, they both insisted they have their fair share of arguments. They don't always see eye to eye on Sarah's fashion tastes and sometimes Jen spills Sarah's secrets to her customers.

"I do have a big mouth," Jen said, laughing.

In spite of any arguments they have, they're the perfect pair.

"I wouldn't want it any other way," Jen said. "She's my best friend."

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