My bed time when was I was very young was 9 pm. I will always remember because of The “Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Nickelodeon’s youth programming would end at 7:00 pm CST and start off with “The Partridge Family,” which I used to like to watch since I loved to sing. The next half hour would be filled with shows that would never click with me as a 6 to 8-year-old (and probably wouldn’t now either)—something terrible like “Mork and Mindy” or “Taxi.” At 8, “I Love Lucy” would light up the tv screen and my family would watch the show together, laughing at Lucy’s ridiculous antics and flabbergasted facial expressions. Then that 30-min block from 8:30 to 9:00 was when the race against the clock began. I had that much time to shower (or maybe it was still baths at that point), brush my teeth, and get into my pajamas so that I could engage in one of my favorite childhood activities—singing “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” theme song with my mom.
The song, entitled “Love is All Around” and written by Sonny Collins, changed over the years of the run of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Initially, during the first season, the lyrics of the song focused more on the idea of a fresh start. However, as I was experiencing the show as reruns almost 20 years after its first airing, I don’t remember these lyrics. What I do recall is the positive lyrics that ran with the opening sequence of the show for seasons 2-7. My mother and I would sing these lyrics—positive, loving, and affirming—to each other with gusto as we would dance around the living room.
What is crazy to me is that I haven’t seen, heard, or listened to “Love is All Around” or the opening sequence of the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” in over 20 years. I haven’t even thought about this part of my bedtime ritual that I engaged in every night for years until I heard about the passing of Mary Tyler Moore today. And when I heard, my first thought was this song. I still remember ALL of the lyrics. Word for word.
I have never been all that deeply impacted by celebrity deaths. I don’t know the individuals personally so it is hard for me to get emotional about them. Of course, some had been more difficult than others; Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, for instance, have played huge roles in my life as a musician, so their deaths were definitely difficult for me. However, I had never cried after hearing about the death of a celebrity until today. I was sitting at work, on a call with a colleague, when I got the notification on my phone. I started to tell my colleague the story of my bedtime ritual and I couldn’t help but shed tears.
Looking back, I realize now that I wasn’t crying because of the loss of Mary Tyler Moore, who was truly a pioneer in her own right (shows like “Girls” and “Living Single” have her to thank for proving that an unmarried woman could carry high TV ratings). May she rest in peace. It was more the rush of emotion I felt thinking about my mom and this moment we shared together. It may sound silly and cliché, but I think the reason I ran to get ready for bed and the reason that I loved to sing that song so much with her was because I really and truly believed that SHE believed the words of the song about me. I know I believed them about her. Thank you, Sonny and Mary, for giving us a song to sing and an occasion to sing it that would bring us together night after night.
I feel so honored to have the opportunity to live again with both my parents and share time that I know not everyone gets. I have to admit that have always been a momma’s boy though. So mom, if we could sing this song together before I go to bed, I would really appreciate it. Sometimes I forget these words are true about a guy like me and I need you to remind me, just one more time. And I will do the same for you. Love you.
Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Well it’s you girl, and you should know it
With each glance and every little movement you show it
Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don’t you take it?
You’re gonna make it after all
You’re gonna make it after all
“Love is All Around” by Sonny Collins