A celebration of Mother’s Day | PostIndependent.com

A celebration of Mother’s Day

Stories by Amy Hadden Marsh
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

Today is Mother’s Day, a day now celebrated around the world to recognize and honor mothers.

As we do every year, we invited local mothers to drop by the Post Independent with their children for a photograph to be published in today’s paper. Our appeal, as always, struck a chord, and we received 60 responses from mothers. Kelley Cox took photos of the first nine who replied, and writer Amy Hadden Marsh spent time with four of these mothers to tell their stories.

We think you will find these photos and stories touching and inspiring, and a meaningful addition to your Mother’s Day.

Kim Savage has raised six children on her own since 2007 with faith as her anchor.

“The Lord has shown me over and over again how much he cares for mothers’ burdens,” she said. “And how much he can give help in time of need.”

Her youngest, Joy, is 1 and Liam, her oldest, is 16. All are mostly home-schooled but take some classes at local schools.

Savage taught middle school and high school in Gunnison in the 1990s. But she wants her kids to learn holistically.

“Home-schooling gave us the flexibility to focus on areas of their interest,” she explained, “while allowing the freedom to take the children outside of the classroom and travel to explore museums, historical places, and geographical events.”

And it has paid off. Liam will attend summer law courses at Harvard this year. His 14-year-old sister, Delaney, wants to be a doctor and so far, has the grades to achieve her goal.

Savage is thrilled to watch them fulfill their dreams.

“The Bible describes children as arrows in a quiver,” she said. “I’ve always encouraged the children to seek out God’s will for their lives and then assist to aim the arrow in the direction they are passionate about.”

Savage acknowledges that single motherhood is challenging. She does things with her kids she swore she’d never do.

Take TV, for example. As a kid, Savage was never allowed to watch cable television, so she made a promise to herself that her kids would have TV. But, somewhere along the way, she found a quote that changed her mind: Watch less TV and more life.

“Consequently,” she said, “we spend a lot of time outdoors in nature and with people in fellowship, rather than in front of electronic media.”

“Kara has a different story,” explained her mother, Glenwood Springs resident Alice Brouhard. When Kara was 5, she was hit by an out-of-control skier at Sunlight Mountain Resort. The accident shattered her skull and left her in a coma for two months. When she awoke, the family was forever changed.

Kara, now 31, grew up with a traumatic brain injury, which left her legally blind and paralyzed on her left side. But, said her mother, Kara has always been fully included in the community.

“Despite the challenges,” she said, “we did what we thought was the normal thing to do.”

Kara graduated from Glenwood Springs High School in 2000. She spent two years at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind in Colorado Springs, living college-style in the dorms and coming home during breaks. She met her first boyfriend there.

These days, Kara volunteers in Glenwood Springs and bakes cookies for the police and fire departments.

Alice and her husband, Jim, focus on Kara’s strengths and abilities, but her mother is well aware of the loss of a so-called normal life. “I can remember walking past parks and seeing girls playing soccer,” said Brouhard. “I realized [Kara] wouldn’t be able to do that.”

She said raising a disabled child has made her a better person.

“I’ve had to be more positive,” she said. “Kara has pushed me to be innovative, creative, and adaptive.”

Brouhard is devoted to helping her daughter live independently. Kara has her own home, six blocks from her parents, equipped with a computerized system to help her through her day. Soon she will be a business owner, making Kara’s Krunchies trail mix for sale locally.

Brouhard, whose own mother passed away last weekend, said the biggest challenge has yet to come.

“We always figure it out,” she said. “You’ve just got to step up to the plate.”

Jackie Binion always wanted to be a mom. Her daughters Madeleine, 5, and Ruby May, 3, are dreams come true.

“They’re the lights of my life,” she said. “They make their father and myself very happy.”

Binion and her husband, Shawn, have lived in Glenwood Springs for 14 years. Both girls were Valley View Hospital babies.

“To me,” Binion explained, “it’s very fulfilling to nurture and raise a child.” Binion enjoys hearing her daughters say they want to be mommies when they grow up.

But the youngsters are also stubborn, defiant and very expressive – just like Mom and Dad.

“We were kids whose moms said, ‘I hope when you get older, you have kids like you! Sometimes it’s a little exasperating,” Binion said with a chuckle.

Binion said motherhood has made her very protective and more aware of what’s going on in the world.

“I worry sometimes that they’ll learn things too quickly, and be exposed to things that kids shouldn’t be exposed to,” she said.

She’s amazed that kindergartner Madeleine can already add, subtract, and read.

“In kindergarten,” she recalled with a laugh, “I remember taking a nap!”

The girls also take dance classes at the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts and recently performed in Dancers Dancing, the annual student recital. Binion also danced when she was younger.

“I love to watch them dance,” she mused. “If I could bottle that innocence, I would.”

Chloe Kirchenwitz turns 6 on Monday. Her mom, Stephanie, says she did everything she could to have Chloe on Mother’s Day in 2006.

“I took Aiden out for, like, a seven-hour hike,” she remembered. “I pushed him on the swings and ate raw kiwi and pineapple, which is supposed to put you in labor.”

Something worked. Stephanie went into labor and six hours later, Chloe arrived.

Both children were born on a full moon. And, yes, she said, Miss Chloe gets an attitude whenever a full moon comes along.

“Let’s just say the Super Moon was not good to me,” Kirchenwitz said.

Aiden and Chloe attend Cactus Valley Elementary School in Silt.

Aiden, 8, is in third grade. “He’s my little writer,” said Kirchenwitz. “He writes a lot of crazy robot little boy stuff.” He also reads books by Judy Blume and likes the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series.

Chloe just won an award at school for being an all-around good kid. It’s called the Character Award and is given quarterly to one child in each grade. Aiden got one, too, when he was her age.

The best part of being a mom, said Kirchenwitz, is seeing the kids be proud of their accomplishments.

“Plus all the hugs and kisses, of course,” she added.

She credits her relationship with husband, Rudi, for her happy kids. “No way my kids would have turned out so great without their dad,” she said.

She said when she and Rudi got married, it was forever.

“Kids need that reassurance that their parents love each other,” she explained. “We’re actually happily married!”

Love is what it’s all about for Kirchenwitz, something she said was not expressed openly when she was a child. Motherhood made her a more loving person, she said.

“I tell my kids 50 times a day that I love them,” she said.

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