About the Firmans
I have watched my goals and perspectives change dramatically over my 85+ years. I was married before graduating from college even though I had gone for all four years. I just decided not to take any final exams because marriage seemed so much more exciting. Then we had three children and I decided I wanted to teach school. I went back to college and I received my degree when I was in my early 40s. I found I was a good teacher and taught school in various places when we moved around. Then when I was fifty I decided to get a Master's Degree in Counseling and did so. I also trained in Transactional Analysis and became a Clinical member and along the way took some training in Gestalt therapy.
My daughters married and I became a grandmother and found a new way to be nurturing and loving, perhaps, at times, trying to take over when it was unwise to do so. I continued to learn and take courses and to change my way of seeing the world and of loving people.
In 1979 Dorothy (nicknamed Didi) and I decided to try working together as two adults rather than as mother and child. A wonderful experience. Since then we have shared many days working together. I bring to our workshops the experience of all my years and a natural tendency to nurture and I listen in awe as Didi discusses, explains and gives wonderful information to all of the participants.
As we worked together, I became more confident of myself and found that I, too, could speak to groups. I became interested in aging and how many choices we had as elders to lead full and inspiring lives. I still considered myself half of a team but ventured alone to give classes and talks on the process of growing old.
Now we are putting together a wonderful new book of stories from mothers, daughters, grandmothers, and adoptive mothers and daughters. After our first book, Daughters and Mothers, Healing the Relationship, we waited for our next new adventure and our forthcoming Chicken Soup for the Mother/Daughter Soul is that adventure. This book allows you and all the women touched by that relationship to write their own stories and to share them. We hope you'll join us at one of our workshops or by reading our books.
I've been a daughter my whole life, a mother for 34 years and now for the last year I've been a grandmother. It's not the whole story. I'm a sister, wife, friend, psychotherapist, trainer of psychotherapists, writer, martial artist.... and more. I have a daughter, a daughter-in-law, nieces, a granddaughter, lots of "daughter" age people in my life. The mother/daughter relationship plays out not only with a mother and daughter but with many of the mother-age/daughter-age relationships. It's a great thing, being part of the lineage of women, from the oldest to the youngest. I'm thrilled to have so many generations of our family available to each other. To watch my two granddaughters connect to their 87 year old great-grandmother is a wonderful thing. For women in or out of family to reach out to each other is healing.
I also know from my own family experience and from my twenty-five years of work as a psychotherapist that the relationship can be hard, painful, hurtful. I am deeply grateful that this work that my mother and I do touches women in a way that helps them find what is best in this relationship. I hope that this work, even as you explore it on this web site, touches you and you in turn touch others.
Frances Firman Salorio
As a family systems therapist, I have watched many mother-daughter relationships in the works and have been privileged to help a number of these relationships sort themselves out. Each time, I learn something more about myself as a daughter and a mother. Carl Whitaker, renowned family therapist, once said, "If the therapist doesn't learn something from the session, it isn't good therapy." I think my own mother/daughter stories, as either the daughter or the mother, would be different each year. Experience accumulates, understanding deepens, hurts fade and judgments soften. (One of the best things about getting older is becoming more mellow about life)
I am Julie's daughter, Didi's sister, Cindy's mother, Nikki's mother-in-law, and great-aunt two special little girls. I am also Win's daughter, Tom's sister, and John's mother but we are focusing on the female line right now. We have always been a close family, all making the effort to get together several times a year no matter how far apart we lived. Our family visits, holidays and vacations have always been highlights in my life, so I feel fortunate to be living in the same town as my parents and sister at this stage of our lives. This recent development is such a blessing. Having four generations together on many occasions is a moving experience.
Julie really set the stage. So many of us are therapists! My daughter is a Ph.D. in clinical neuropsychology (my daughter, the doctor! I'm a very proud mom.) and works with children in Baltimore. She has logged many flight miles to join us for holidays and vacations over the years so we are all happy that she is close enough for many visits.
And I am a solution-focused family therapist. Which brings me to the book. The stories that many generous women have submitted so far offer a wider range of solutions to life problems that one would have ever imagined. Women tell us happy tales of loving solutions and resolutions that a creative mother or daughter came up with, they tell us sadder stories of how they resolved some difficult part of a relationship, they share fond memories, proud thoughts, nostalgic feelings. There are at least as many mother-daughter stories as there are women, because all of us are daughters. And life often offers us mother-daughter type relationships with other women who are not our mothers or daughters. As I enjoy the closeness of the four generations of women in my family, I notice more and more what can be shared with others. When I share a family story, I feel good about it and I hope the hearer benefits, too.
We invite you to join the Firmans in creating a collection of stories that will make a difference in the lives of women all over. Reading the stories sent in so far has already made a difference in our lives as we connect with other women and their experiences. We hope to connect with you.