Celebrating Moms, Celebrating Women

Gayle & Mary outsideThis post by Gayle M. Irwin

During my presentation and book reading last Saturday at the Natrona County Library, they sat next to young children or held babies in their arms. On the drive a few short hours later to a different community’s bookstore, one sat in the back seat of my vehicle next to her little one buckled into a car seat. Of whom do I speak? Moms.

Mother’s Day, which began during the early 1900s, arrives on Sunday. I’ll be with my mom that day as I travel this weekend to my parents’ home in Denton, Montana. With every year that passes, I treasure each Mother’s Day I’m able to share with my mom. Although she views it as “just another day” in her nonchalant “don’t make a big deal of things” attitude, I view it as a day of blessing. I love my mother, I admire my mother, I respect her and I cherish her. She is not only the woman who raised Gayle and Mom_Little Snowy Rangeme (and did so with great love, encouragement, and selflessness), she is also my dear friend. I confide in her, I cry on her shoulder, and I celebrate positive things with her; she is always there for me. We may not agree on some things, including politics, but we respect one another and listen to each other. And, we dearly love and respect one another.

As Mother’s Day approaches, I not only give a shout-out to women who have the difficult yet loving job of raising children, but I also raise a glass in toast of all women, especially those I know — for we all “birth” and/or care for something in our own way. I have friends who have raised children as single moms, most no fault of their own (husbands committing adultery and widowed at a young age). I know women whose boyfriends/ fiancés decided to leave when the ladies became pregnant (I work part-time at a pregnancy center, and this happens frequently).  Many of my friends are “mom” to furry “kids” as well as to human children, and other women, like me, didn’t have babies from their womb but do have children of their heart (both furry ones and adopted human children). And, even those who never married and have no kids, but they run businesses, work at jobs, and volunteer for non-profits. Women do many things, and a lot of them balance several things, whether they are mothers to human or furry children or not.

Gayle with Stacy and CindyWomen are smart, they are talented, they have strong work ethics, and they are compassionate. Yet, it’s challenging to be a woman. From our sex-driven culture (movies, TV, magazines, prostitution, sex trafficking) to the lower wages women earn in the workplace, difficulties still prevail in our society and between the genders even after years of greater equality and justice. It’s no longer an Ozzie and Harriet world, some of which isn’t so bad (including increased numbers of women in management roles, as business owners, and serving as scientists, college presidents, and state governors); yet, there is still a road to travel to have men and women be seen, and treated, as equals.

Gayle_Lea_Casey_Leah_booksigningSo, this Mother’s Day, I celebrate my own mother and other women in my life who make an impact, not just upon me but upon other people. I celebrate my deceased grandmothers, especially Grandma Mardy who encouraged me to attend college and expressed her pride about my writing. I honor my many female friends, those who are moms to human children and to furry kids; those who are writers and other creatives and those who use their talents and skills in other productive ways; those who are facing health challenges and preserving through those situations; those who have lost their spouses and children; those who volunteer to help others in need; those who run their own businesses and those who work two or more jobs to make ends meet – all of my female friends and family make life more beautiful because of who they are and what they do. I love and admire every one of you, including my Writing Wranglers and Warrior friends!

Happy Mother’s Day to women everywhere!


Gayle_CHS booktable34Gayle M. Irwin is an award-winning Wyoming writer. She is the author of several inspirational pet books for children and adults, and she freelances for newspapers and magazines. Her most recent release is a children’s picture book titled A Kind Dog Named Mary, about her springer/cocker mix that is trained as a therapy dog. Gayle has contributed stories to many different Chicken Soup for the Soul books, including the 2014 release The Dog Did What? and last year’s release The Spirit of America, in which she writes about America’s national parks. She supports various pet rescue organizations as a volunteer and with contributions from her book sales. Learn more about Gayle and her writing and speaking endeavors at www.gaylemirwin.com.


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Through My Daughter’s Eyes by Erin Farwell

IMG_3021_1I love plans. I like to know what is coming up and what I need to do about it. I make weekly to do lists with some tasks to be performed on specific days and other just listed as it doesn’t matter when I complete them as long as I get them done. This helps me feel like I am accomplishing something even if it is just grocery shopping or cleaning the cat litter box. I can cross the task off the list as “done” and this is a good thing.

Since “the flood,” which I say as though it were of biblical proportions, making and keeping plans and schedules have been nearly impossible. The house is slowly coming together and we can now use the kitchen. The office is still in the bedroom but the television has moved back downstairs. Every task from painting to setting up a book-case takes longer than expected and unforeseen problems crop up like mushrooms in the rain.

Now we have two weeks left of school, I have a jewelry/book event up in Michigan over Memorial Day weekend, and a clay camp for eight to twelve-year-olds to teach the Tuesday through Friday after Memorial Day. I am stressed, worried, and unsettled.

And I have a blog to write.

I planned to discuss the treasure hunt that has been a part of my life since strangers packed my kitchen after the flood, but then something magical happened: Mother’s Day.

When Willow was young I received crayoned pictures, thumb-printed flower pots, and painted birdhouses. I cherish them and keep them safe, these mementos of a CIMG1462child past. As she’s grown older she still makes me a card every year and shops with my husband to get me something special.

This year Mike purchased soaps and body wash and made me bath salts, all designed to help manage my stress. Willow assisted by putting these things in a pretty basket that was a joy to receive, as was his hand-made card.

Willow also made me a card but she did so much more. She also created a “World’s Best Mom” certificate which she mounted on pretty paper. Then she gave an amazing gift. A jar that held scraps of paper on which she wrote all the reasons she loves me.

Some of these reasons are funny and sweet, like the fact that I take her shopping or that I am just awesome in general. Others are based on how I treat her:

• You listen to me
• You help me with homework
• You protect me
• You are always so happy when I come homeCIMG1464
• You help me fix my problems
• You take care of me
• You save my ipod/phone when I almost lose it
• You give me what I need
• You love me
• You are the perfect mom for me

My heart melted a bit with each slip of paper that I read. I told her I might cry. She asked me not to but I could tell she was pleased at how much I loved her gift. It is clear she understands that I am in her corner no matter what. I know she is on the right path when she says that I give her what she needs versus what she wants. This is a big difference and one she appreciates.

While these statements were wonderful, what astounded me was what she wrote about how she sees me:

• You are creative
• You are supportive and kind
• You are respectful, honest, and braveCIMG1459
• You can tell when someone needs help
• You are very smart
• You are a great author
• You are very forgiving
• You are daring
• You are inspiring
• You try to find solutions for problems
• You are beautiful inside and out

I am awed and humbled that she sees these qualities in me when I sometimes I can’t see them myself. I trust that she knows these traits are a part of her as well. If not, I am here to remind her, just as she did for me.

Nothing in my life has changed since I opened that jar and read the neat penmanship on the colorful slips of paper. There are still deadlines, obligations, post-disaster construction, and the general messy process of life. But my heart is lighter as I see myself through her eyes, for I am brave and daring. I am supportive and kind. I am the perfect mom for her.

You can learn more about me at:


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