When I was a kid, I would stay up watching Nick at Nite long after my parents told me to go to bed. I loved seeing the old shows and laughing at the jokes that I didn’t really understand. I remember making up my own reasons to find them funny, to find the characters compelling, to find their sadness sad and their happiness happy.
I loved “Three’s Company” because it was easy for an 8-year-old to follow. “The Facts of Life” was hilarious to me because my mom said I laughed like Natalie. “The Jeffersons” was great because Flo was a badass and the theme song gave me an excuse to belt about fish not frying in the kitchen.
The Mary Tyler Moore show was different. I was 8 years old and I knew that there was something unique about a show in which a single woman wasn’t a side character or the butt of the joke. I knew it was important to my grandma, and even to my aunts who are the strongest women I have ever known. I knew it was important because as a young queer kid who knew he was gay but didn’t really know what that meant, it just felt like there was something to this Mary.
Today Mary Tyler Moore passed away. I have been singing this particular theme song for many years. Today I share it as I celebrate the women in my life who have made me the person I am, even when they had no idea I was watching.