Today is that special day when we celebrate our mothers. I have been thinking a lot about my mother and her influence on me as a person, a parent, and an artist.
I grew up in a family of classical musicians. My mother worked full time as an orchestra member while also teaching, keeping up with her studies, and managing a household of two children and a husband. She was a perfect example of a beautiful, ambitious woman, who was also a wonderful mother and a wife. Although she worked very hard in her career, she always made time for special experiences, taking us to concerts, the ballet, the opera or the cinema on the weekend. She played games with us and chased us around the park. She had such a radiant presence. Her pure spirit lit up every space she was in.
Everyone in our family was always busy practicing their instruments, working on a project, performing in concerts, or touring. This kind of family environment shaped me to become a very independent child. I learned to take care of basic home logistics and relied on myself in a way that perhaps many others my age didn’t. We didn’t have a TV, so I got lost in books instead. The quality of our time together as a family was more important than the quantity, and I didn’t need to be in the same space with mom in order to feel her constant love and support. I knew that when I really needed her, she was always there for me.
Mom emphasized the importance of learning at least one foreign language to expand opportunities and open your mind to different cultures and ways of thinking. She taught us to be disciplined and to finish what we started, to bring awareness to anything that we might be doing at a particular moment in time. This ability to focus really helped me to be present and gave me tools to navigate challenges later in life.
I was 12 when she died unexpectedly. My sister was only 10. Our lives were never the same again. Apart from the emotional devastation, managing daily life became very difficult. I expanded my cooking repertoire. I cleaned and helped my sister with homework. I did whatever needed to be done. I had to keep being strong.
And through all this, there was a magical way to bring back her spirit… through music. When I played the violin, I could express all of the anguish and heartache, and all of the other feelings that I didn’t know how to convey with words. I lost my mother, but her wisdom lived on.
I now have a family of my own and am blessed with three beautiful, independent girls. As mothers, we bear a great responsibility. Every day, when we interact with the children we love so much, we are shaping the world. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by this reality and still maintain our own identity. Often, we give up on our own dreams when we are in what seems to be a permanent state of sleep deprivation. On days where I feel like I can’t handle things, I think of my mother. I think of her strength and her light.
Join me in cherishing the amazing women who have inspired us, and without whom we would not have become the people we are today.
Tatiana Berman is a violinist and artist. She is one of the stars of Forte, which tells the story of three strong women pursuing their dreams. You can support the film by contributing to its Kickstarter campaign here. Rewards include tickets to the world premiere in New York and a limited edition print signed by Tatiana. For inquiries please email Jasmine at firstname.lastname@example.org