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As far back as I can remember, I have associated “Mrs. Doubtfire” with family, happiness and amusement. We would crowd into my grandparents’ cozy den, pile up on the couch, double up in the two recliners and the last person to find a seat would get stuck in an uncomfortable wooden chair.
For the full 125 minutes, our eyes were glued to the screen as we absorbed the one-liners and shared laughs. Our parents and grandparents would enter the room periodically and watch with us.
Each person had personal favorite lines; we anticipated the scary parts (Stu choking in Bridges restaurant) and loved the sound of Euphegenia pouring the yogurt sauce as she prepared her first dinner for Miranda and the kids.
Every scene became a memory that we shared together and held close to our hearts.
The underlying themes in “Mrs. Doubtfire” subliminally shed light on important life concepts and taught me lessons through a genuine, humorous and pensive nature.
1. The importance of family
Despite Daniel and Miranda’s issues, the two ultimately did what was best for their children. The parameters of the court’s ruling and visitation rights did not deter Daniel in his quest to be a daily, active member of his kids’ lives.
He sacrificed his manhood (in a sense), took a leap of faith and suppressed the potential consequences of his actions in order to act as a positive influence in the only way he knew how.
Even though his failed marriage left him disheartened, Daniel even made sure that Miranda was taken care of when the “hip, old granny” was around the house. Now, that’s true love: putting others first by sacrificing your own well-being and level of comfortability.
In spite of obstacles that present themselves, family is everything.
2. Stop caring about what other people think
Each day after work, Daniel entered the men’s bathroom as a male and exited as a female. He passed people on his way in and out who gave him weird looks, yet he marched on, proudly. He put the perception of the outside world aside to move forward on his mission to remain a familial staple.
There were plenty of times when his “cross-dressing” was misconstrued and could have led to embarrassment, but because he was able to not care, he remained focused.
If you feel that something is right, go for it and follow through. Don’t stop and ruminate on what others may be thinking. One of life’s biggest deterrents is worrying about how the world may perceive you. Be yourself and march to the beat of your own drum.
3. Sadness is temporary
Divorce is difficult for everyone, parents and children alike.
It took awhile for everyone adjust to their new lifestyles: Daniel in his new apartment, away from the children; Miranda becoming the primary bread winner and running the household (alongside Mrs. Doubtfire); the children getting used to Daniel’s absence around the house.
The sense of normalcy and the steady flow of life suddenly vanished. Everyone was left bereft and stuck reminiscing about the past and the happiness they had once known.
Eventually, the rain clouds cleared and sun came back. Miranda found comfort in Stu, Daniel found comfort in his new role as “nanny” and the children began to depend on Mrs. Doubtfire for comfort and guidance.
There are many rainy days in life. Sadness can erupt into a monsoon, but in time, the light at the end of the tunnel will shine again.
4. Don’t blame yourself
In her famous final monologue, Mrs. Doubtfire eloquently states the following,
“Oh, my dear Katie. You know, some parents, when they’re angry, they get along much better when they don’t live together. They don’t fight all the time, and they can become better people, and much better mummies and daddies for you.
And sometimes they get back together. And sometimes they don’t, dear. And if they don’t, don’t blame yourself. Just because they don’t love each other anymore, doesn’t mean that they don’t love you. There are all sorts of different families, Katie.
Some families have one mommy, some families have one daddy, or two families. And some children live with their uncle or aunt. Some live with their grandparents, and some children live with foster parents.
And some live in separate homes, in separate neighborhoods, in different areas of the country – and they may not see each other for days, or weeks, months, even years at a time.”
It gives strength to those who are in the depths of custody battles, familial disagreements or general acrimony. It lends a helping hand to those who feel lost, different or unsure of their current life situations. Mrs. Doubtfire’s honest voice of comfort and truth rang through the streets of San Francisco and into the hearts of viewers.
We were all truly devastated because his character was and is part of our lives. Despite any drama or the inevitable loss of connection throughout the years, the film is a force of undeniable cogency that has and always will keep us tied together.
In the wise words of Euphegenia, “But if there’s love, dear, those are the ties that bind.”
Thank you for everything, Robin.
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