I was devastated to learn that Florence Henderson passed away on Nov. 24. Henderson was known as “Mrs. Brady” to multiple generations of TV fans. She was the mom of our dreams. In real life, she was just as loving, kind and genuine as you’d imagine her to be. I was fortunate enough to meet Henderson in 2014 when she came to Fort Lauderdale for the christening of the Regal Princess cruise ship. Dozens of fellow ’70s TV stars came out of the event including the cast of “The Love Boat,” Doris Roberts, Frank Sinatra Jr., Charo, Joyce DeWitt and many others.
Henderson had a long day of interviews for both TV and print and even spoke during the ceremony of the event. I was patiently waiting in a lounge area of the ship where I had just interviewed “Brady Bunch” star Christopher Knight. I heard Henderson tell her publicist she was tired and didn’t want to do anymore interviews. The publicist pointed at me and said “That girl wants to interview you.” Henderson smiled and said “Ok, I’ll do one more.”
As a child, my aunts and my mother always told me “The Brady Bunch” theme song was actually some of the first words I ever uttered. It was quite surreal getting to see Henderson, who I saw regularly on my TV as Carol Brady, standing right in front of me. She gave me a big hug and told me, “I’m so sorry. I don’t want to give you the wrong impression of me. I’m Florence and I’m excited to meet you. Thank you for coming today.”
We then proceeded to have the most candid interview. She asked me if I had any children and I told I had just become a mother for the first time that September. She asked to see a picture of my son and we shared a special moment just as two mothers, talking about life.
Henderson then gave me some life-changing parenting advice, which originally published in my January of 2015 South Florida Parenting magazine column.
“I would tell other parents it’s so easy to say yes. Don’t be afraid to say no to your children. It will be better for them in the long run,” Henderson said. “And be thankful for each moment. I make a gratitude list and I continuously write down everything I’m thankful for. You’d be amazed when you really give it some thought.”
I truly just want to be a great mom who lives in the moment. This was my resolution for 2015 and now my resolution for every year. Thanks Mrs. Brady for helping me realize that.