Marie Osmond was unsure of what she would put in the book she'd been asked to write about motherhood.
She'd start in one direction and life would head in another. She'd begin to tell a story and things would change once again.
It wasn't until she sat down to read some of the pages in her mother's journals that it came together for her.
"This is the book. This is it," Osmond told herself.
As she headed to book signings and squeezed in interviews about "The Key is Love: My Mother's Wisdom, A Daughter's Gratitude" (New American Library, $25.95) between her morning talk show, her family and her Vegas stage show with her brother Donny, she freely acknowledged that the power in the book comes from Osmond matriarch Olive Osmond.
"I was asked to write a mother's book, a light-hearted book with a sort of Erma Bombeck approach. Eight months went by, a year, and I didn't have it," Marie Osmond said in a recent telephone interview. "Then I read my mother's journals and I just saw the wisdom there."
Osmond, with Marcia Wilkie, now has a book full of "little essays." They discuss everything from Osmond's daughter telling her mother she thought she was gay to carving out time for her children as she maintained a demanding career in show business.
Osmond shares insights gained from 48 years in the entertainment industry and 30 years of mothering eight talented, unique children all the while. She addresses disappointments and challenges, self-value and the importance of waiting to make critical decisions in dating relationships.
Osmond talks about staying up into the morning hours so she could hear the stories her children need to tell, being there for late-night phone calls, and listening to their woes and triumphs. She quotes her mother frequently and tells her readers of specific instances where her mother's advice has helped and comforted her as trials came.
She explains a childhood lesson learned when she took a tiny glass elephant from a friend's home, realizing her mother could read in her eyes her discomfort and shame.
Osmond is honest and candid throughout the book. She doesn't back away from the tough subjects or pretend her life has been without challenges.
She talks about the suicide of her son, Michael Bryan, and the pain that never goes away in a 68-page chapter called "Mallard."
"It doesn't ever get better," she said. But she relies on her faith, her family and her mother's example to get her through and back onto her feet.
She addresses the postpartum issues that drove her to leave her children with a baby sitter and a credit card.
The book and her endurance, she says, are a tribute to her mother.
It's also "a love story" about how her first husband came back into her life after more than 20 years.
"It's a Mother's Day, a Father's Day a Children's Day (book)," Osmond said. "It really is just common sense and love is truly the key. That's something I do believe that is key in all of our life."
Osmond was surprised when she started counting the years between her mother's journal entries and today. "The principles and the advice are the same. Even when times have changed, they stay the same."
Olive Osmond made sure her children worked hard, served others and held themselves accountable for their behavior. She says she doesn't believe in entitlement.
"My children have a much different mother than I did," Marie Osmond said. "My mother never worked outside our home. I've always had to work. I've dealt with a different world. My children deal with a different world but the underlying principles that work are the same.
"Love is the key."
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.
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