Posts filed under ‘About My Family’

Mothers and Daughters, and Sisters…and Book Groups!

Mother’s Day is a nice holiday, but it is also a holiday that is hard for some people. Daughters who have lost mothers; mothers who have lost daughters (or sons); women who wanted to become mothers but couldn’t, or didn’t, for some reason. Mothers and daughters (or sons) who feel that they could have been better mothers (or daughters, or sons). Mothers and daughters and sons who are in a bad moment–or a bad way in general–when it comes to these relationships. I’m sure there are other reasons too.

I am going to try to make this post one that celebrates and honors women, period. Mothers. Not-mothers. Daughters. Sisters. Aunts. Women friends. Even book groups!

Why book groups? Because many (though by no means all) book groups tend to be composed of women.

And because my wonderful sister has just shared my long-awaited book (long-awaited by at least her and me, and a few other people) with her book group.

My book is about mothers and daughters. My mother was a wonderful mother. My sister is/was a wonderful daughter. I was a pretty good daughter, but I was not an easy daughter for my mother to raise. (She loved me anyway. I wrote about our close, but not perfect, relationship here.)

And now I have finally published the book I decided to write thirty years ago, when I suddenly realized, in one of those profound moments of life that sometimes grabs you by the throat, or the heart, or in the gut–that I owe so much of who I am and have been able to become because of not only my mother, but also her mother. The grandmother I actually didn’t really like that much. (You’ll have to read the book if you want to know why.)

I don’t remember when I told my sister I was working on this book, but it was quite a few years ago. And so my sure-fire, eager audience of one (my sister) waited all those years and always let me know that she was really looking forward to reading “the book.” (She called it, calls it still, “the book” as if there were only one in the world! 🙂 )

And now that it is a real book, she shared the news with a group of her “sisters”–the members of her wonderful book group in Minneapolis. And they read the book (this means, by the way, that they also bought the book: this means a lot to authors!). And this week they discussed the book, and apparently they really liked it.

The picture on the right above is of my sister’s book group, holding up my book at the festive meeting (French wine included) at which they discussed it.

The picture in the middle is my hermanita (my little sister), reading my book. (I don’t know who took that picture, but I’ll bet my wonderful brother-in-law did. Maybe. Or it could have been my wonderful niece or nephew. Anyway, I love the picture.)

The picture on the left is my mother, taken on one of her happiest days, and mine. She is looking on with love and pride at my sister, and at my book, and at my sister’s book group. I know that if she were alive all of this would please her so much. (Well to be honest, maybe not every single thing I said in the book. But the general idea of the book, she would love that.)

So anyway. On this Mother’s Day I want to honor and thank my mother, and my sister, and the women in my sister’s book group, and all the other women who have so kindly nurtured me in a variety of ways throughout my life.

And I want to honor–and remember–all those mothers and daughters and sons out there who are hurting in some kind of way. I hope those of us who have been lucky in our lives and in our relationships will find ways to be kind and understanding, sensitive to and supportive of those who may not be quite as lucky. I hope we can all find ways to recognize and honor the love that comes from mothers, not-mothers, sisters, not-sisters, all women who share their nurturing and their love with others in whatever ways they can–and who may be hurting on this day.

And to let them know that we do, and that we care. Because all those love songs are right–it really is the most important thing. And everyone needs it.

Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher of writing and of literature who divides her time between the US and France. She is the author of Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You, and  A Long Way from Iowa: From the Heartland to the Heart of France.

May 14, 2023 at 8:45 am Leave a comment

One American Veteran’s Memory of the Battle of the Bulge

“One thing I noticed, that the Argonne Forest, so many bullets had gone through there that the trees were mostly stumps. Very few branches on the trees there…”

Continue Reading August 9, 2014 at 2:22 am 1 comment

Keeping Immigration in Perspective

“Immigration is not a new story in this country. Almost all of our families came from somewhere else…”

Continue Reading August 8, 2014 at 8:47 pm Leave a comment

One American Veteran’s D-Day Story

“…being a medic, in the front lines…we were shelled a number of times…Just goes with the territory…”

Continue Reading June 1, 2014 at 2:19 am 2 comments

Lafayette, voila mes oncles…

…a couple of older gentlemen stopped and asked me if I needed help. When I answered in my far-from-perfect French, they knew I was a foreigner. “American?” they asked, and I nodded. Their faces broke into wide, warm smiles, they shook my hands enthusiastically, they practically embraced me. “We fought with your father, your uncles,” they said. “We fought with them, side by side…”

Continue Reading May 17, 2014 at 12:38 pm 1 comment

A belated, but heartfelt, thanks to my Mom

..it wasn’t until after she died and I had to learn how to live my life without her that I realized how critical my mother’s continuing existence had been to my own.

Continue Reading May 9, 2009 at 8:03 pm 7 comments


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