Vocabulary Roundup : the French words we learned in May
Happiness is... a French quote about le Bonheur

L'un pour l'autre + Deciding with (or for?) a family member

Window with bougainvillea
The room Mom usually stays in when she visits us from her home in Puerto Vallarta. This time we gave her Max's room, as he is away in Montpellier and will soon move to Mexico. But will Grandma Jules be there when he arrives? Read on.

TODAY'S WORD: l'un pour l'autre

        : for each other, one for another

Audio File, click here: Listen to Jackie read the following quote in honor of the writer Brian Doyle

Soyez tendres l'un pour l'autre. Soyez plus tendre que vous avez été hier. --Brian Doyle
Be tender to each other. Be more tender than you were yesterday.  --Brian Doyle


    by Kristi Espinasse

My Mom arrived Monday night after a tearful voyage from Puerto Vallarta to Marseilles.  Those larmes fell unexpectedly, on arriving in Mexico City for the first leg of her journey....

Jean-Marc had arranged for une chaise roulante and assistance to meet Mama Jules at all three landings, to avoid her rushing from gate to gate with a previously broken hip. But as soon as the first assistant arrived to help Mom, she dissolved into tears. The man spoke kindly to her in Spanish, offering to wheel her to the restroom or to the café for a meal. His douceur became a balm and soon other angels surfaced from the beams of the bustling international airport.

Another young man locked eyes with Mom as she coasted by the column against which he was leaning. In that capsule moment he offered un sourire de compassion et de tendresse which soothed Mama Jules all the way to the next departure gate et ainsi de suite....

By the time Jules arrived in Marseilles, she was almost her old self again, except that one part of her would be gone forever. Last August 7th after her husband passed away, Mom began a new chapter all on her own, alone in Mexico. And when she moved from her condo to a tin-roofed studio, we always knew this was a temporary situation....

Three days have already passed since Mom arrived for a two-week visit. And I find myself stopping as we walk along the boardwalk or pausing as we chat on the front porch. I'm trying to grasp this capsule moment lest any detail be lost forever in indecision.

To leave a comment, click on the link near the end of this post.

Mom looking inside le frigo
My dear Mom, jetlag, and the munchies.


l'un pour l'autre = for each other, one for another
une larme = tear

une chaise roulant = wheelchair
et ainsi de suite = and so on
douceur = gentleness
un sourire = smile

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Mary Carlton Lull

My husband died 14 years ago. I remember that first year when I would sob as I changed planes . I don't know why the emotions flooded at that point. Later they are not so close to the surface. You are so valuable to your mother, in that you can let her be sad and not be destroyed by her sadness. The rest of the world may want her to rush through this but it is a valuable time. I could not even go to a grief group until seven months had passed. Grief is a way of discovering just how deeply you are loving the person who is gone. It is also completely individual. Love to all of you.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi and Jules!

Enjoy and cherish your time together! My sweet Mom fell again and is in a rehabilitation facility for several weeks. Thank goodness my brothers are close by. I hope to spend time with her in the coming month. It's so hard to be so far away!

Marilyn Murphy

Enjoy every moment you have with her..no matter what she does. Enjoy it!!!!

Kristin Espinasse

Eileen, Sending all best wishes to your dear Mom 💛


She could not be in a better place with you and Jean.

Jean Briggs

Hubert, my French "conjoint" and linguist, says that "une chaise" does not have arms, but "un fauteuil" does. So a wheelchair, which usually has arms, would be called "un fauteuil roulant." With no arms, it would be "une chaise roulante." (Feminine adjective)

Picky, picky, isn't he? 😋

Have fun with your mother, and ask her all the questions you might one day regret not having asked her...

Gwyn Ganjeau

I have missed Jules' lively posts on this site and am grateful to have even a glimpse of the back of the kind, wise, creative noggin. Enjoy every minute.


From my experience with grief I an tell her the crying must happen but does diminish with time. With you and JM she can safely grieve. You two are a true blessing for her. I was afraid I would never stop crying but you do stop. Besides that a big trip is tiring. What a beautiful picture out the window.


In 3 weeks, it will have been 4 years since my husband died. There is nothing holding me in this harsh Canadian climate anymore, so I am thinking of following in your mom's footsteps and moving to Puerto Vallarta.


JULES !! Best wishes for the best visit ever!


Kristi - I love the quote from Brian Doyle ♥ My 85 year-old momma lives with my husband and I. She is such a blessing to us all, and it's a good reminder to be thankful that I have her close all the time. Btw... I think I would love to spend time with Jules - she seems like such a kick! I totally loved the picture of her dancing with your first blog visitor - a girl after my heart! Blessings dear Kristi, Jean-Marc and Mama Jules ♥


I was brought to tears reading about the tender mercy your mother received from a stranger at the airport. I imagine she is settled into your home now and feeling much better. It would be so devastating to lose a life partner. Best wishes and Godspeed to your mother and to you, Kristin.

Diane Kish

A beautiful time to hold each other near. You are blessed to have her and she to have you and Jean Marc.


Thank you for sharing the quote from Brian Doyle! As a Portlander, and University of Portland alum, I always loved reading his words in the Portland magazine that he edited. ❤️

Diane Young

I, too, have missed Jules' comments. It takes time to adjust to a loss of someone close. My husband died in November, 2011, and I find that now I am able to look at his photographs and rejoice in our 53 years together. I am so grateful and glad he is no longer in pain and safe in the arms of Jesus. Please give Jules an extra hug for me. She is a wonderful person and brave to make that long trip to see you and JM. I know she is enjoying the beautiful view from the bedroom. Love always.

Linda R.

Dear Kristin,

Your Brian Doyle quote moved me to tears. I love his writings and love the compassion and grace and humor that he brought to our world. Your writing of your mom's journey was equally tender. Blessings to you and yours.


Bonjour, Kristin,
I agree with all the comments of others. You are so
blessed to have your mother with you. I lost my mother several years ago and still think about her all the time.
In her later years she was Grand Central for our family.
Whenever my sisters and I had family news, we called
our mother and she, in turn, called everyone else. She had such a sensitive, diplomatic, and often joyful way of
sharing bad and good news. She also made the ordinary seem special. She took an interest in everyone and everything around her and in the world, local and global right up to her last breath. I comfort myself and my sisters with the thought that she is with my father and with family and friends who prédécesseur her. Jules, peut-elle habite plus proche de vous?

Kristin Espinasse

Linda, it is thanks to you that I discovered Brian Doyle. While scrolling through my Instagram feed my eyes caught on the wonderful picture of you two, and I stopped to read your note and was lost for the next hour in his biography, having googled for more. Thank you 💛

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you Jean and Hubert, for a most helpful correction. I will remember this, now, thanks to the handy example you shared. Now to fix the text... 

Linda R.

💗 💗

Ellen A.

Of course young men locked eyes and smiled at your mom in the airport! Even in a wheelchair, I'm sure that it was easy to see her verve and style. She and you are classic beauties, and all the world appreciates that. Some of it is the genes, the high cheekbones and lovely hair, but most of it is the way you carry yourselves and the warmth of your character. Best wishes to your mom for a beautiful stay in France, however long it may be.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Ellen! 


Our dear Kristi,
Sending our love to you both and,always,to dear Jules.
I wish I could wrap you all in a huge hug filled with comfort and prayers for strength.
The bond you share is truly an inspiration to us all,as well as a rememberance of so many happy memories of our own wonderful parents and all the joy we shared.
Wishing you a wonderful visit together!
Natalia. Xo

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

Jules is in a safe place now with you and Jean-Marc. Tears are therapeutic and cleansing...and then where do they go? I am reminded of words from a favorite song from the sixties. Accroche une larme aux nuages, et laisse le vent l'emporter...until the next tear is shed. May this be a healing time for Jules.


Kristi,I loved your post today but was saddened by the Brian Doyle quote, as he himself passed away just this past week at age 60 after losing his battle with cancer.
May your mother find solace in the loving embrace of you and your family. And beyond solace- fun!

Karen Cafarella

Sending love and big hugs to you all. Love to see the pictures.



I was moved both by the account of your mother's journey through the airport, as well as the quote by beloved Oregon author and my neighbor Brian Doyle, who passed away last weekend. They are both people of spirit, with a passion for life! I hope your mother has a wonderful, restorative visit with her family in France.


All of the above comments so loving and I join with them. Also, on a joyous note, your Mama has absolutely beautiful hair!!! God bless you all during this visit. Lots of Love, C-Marie


Is there any way to convince your dear mother to move to France, to be closer to you and JM? If not, is your son going to be close to where she resides in Mexico?
Enjoy your visit, cherish your mom and revel in your beautiful home before you move.


Interesting how tears can come so unexpectedly. That happened to my Mother-in-Law following her husband's passing. We were at Christmas Eve service and all of a sudden she started crying expressing how it came out of nowhere. Luckily, she was in a safe place and all the near-by parishioners comforted her along with us. Jules also is now in a safe place with all of you. Time for tenderness and some fun!

Colm Maguire

I have just heard you speak at the 'Meet the authours in Nice.' Wow, you have moved me so much.
Thank you.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Colm. I am so touched seeing your message! 



Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Gus! That means so much! I will make sure Mom sees your message, too. 

Lauren Golden

People correct French so I will correct the English! It's "my husband and me" - or those pesky pronouns!

Lauren Golden

oh those pesky pronouns!


I love the comparatively recent pleasure I've discovered of your Instagram which complements and enhances the joys of your blog. But I haven't yet worked out how to comment on your Instagram and I worry that the anonymity I have here on the blog will not work on Instagram as I am reluctant to "come out" with my real name and email. But there were 2 things I wanted to say - I do so love the way you value and share with us the simple and natural things in life, like your mother's bouquet of flowers from your garden. And I sympathise that you are beginning to see signs e.g. in the bougainvillea regarding your forthcoming move. But do remember that almost everything can appear to be a "sign". You are at a cross roads - but whichever path you take will have it ups and downs. There is no one right way. Only the future - and love.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Margaret, for your thoughtful message about signs and crossroads. A very good and helpful message. And thank you for your words about my photos and subjects. This helps too, and keeps me on my path. Wishing you and yours a lovely week. 

To all who are reading, enjoy your days! 


Dear Kristi,
Congratulations to you and Jean-Marc! Just think you will get to plan a beautiful garden that might even be a bit less work in the end, but ever so enjoyable! I think about moving to France but if I ever follow through, your experience has taught me that I will need lots of patience for the process!! Sends pictures please:)

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