Mother. {poetry}

{Photo credit: Shawnee Thornton}

{Photo credit: Shawnee Thornton}


Once a silent child in your frilly dresses and bows in your hair,
A teen wallflower, your beauty too deep for others to grasp.
Creativity beyond their world.
Dreams of being a fashion designer.
A wanderer, seeker of more, looking for life’s next adventure.
Living the life of a city girl, the streets of New York your hiding place.
But you must keep moving, wandering the lands to find a place where you fit —
The young hippie woman, free and full of spirit,
You find your place and settle in to life and love,
Create the magnificent life of your first-born child, my beloved brother —
A thinker, the director of his world.
Loss creeps in;
Still, you move forward, strength of an ox,
Clasping your redhead child close to your bosom, you have a new path now.
Love strikes again.
This time the road is hard —
Living off the land, travel by horseback, long winter months,
Waiting for the men to come home.
But you are a survivor, moving forward towards a new land, a new life.
Then comes your gift to me, the gift of life,
The white haired girl with a will of her own,
Moving on with your tribe, your husband, your sisters, your babes.
Soon arrives your last-born child, the missing piece —
A freckle-faced, red-headed child with an old soul.
Settling in the mountains of Montana, off the grid,
You make it a home,
Filling the kitchen with smells of fresh cooked beans and homemade tortillas.
I close my eyes and see you pouring your cups of coffee from the pot;
The mother artist,
Creative beyond words.
I heard you on the nights before Christmas, scurrying about to finish
my handmade dolls with perfect stitches, button eyes and neatly sewn clothes.
You were the center of my world.
But life can be harsh.
Together we grieved and mourned for your husband, our father.
You and your three children… where to go from here?
Now a widow, the provider, the everything;
Still you moved through life with the fierceness of a lioness protecting her cubs,
Determination beyond comprehension,
A graduate of college in your 40s.
Do you know what an inspiration this was to me, mother?
Holding it all together,
Holding me together,
Moving through life with steadfastness.
The phone calls,
Always there when I needed you, even though we were miles apart.
You have taught me so much,
Inspired me to always move forward,
Never ceasing to amaze me.
Starting a new path, journey, career in your 60s.
Beyond brave.
At times I saw you as a lamb,
Timid and frail,
But now I see that you are a wolf in the night,
A hawk in flight,
A woman warrior with invisible scars;
Scars that tell a story —
A story of love, loss and life.
Thank You, Mother,
For I have been blessed with the greatest gift –
The gift of you as my mother.


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Shawnee Thornton
Shawnee Thornton grew up in the mountains of Montana. Her family lived off the grid for most of her childhood with no electricity, indoor plumbing or running water. Growing up in this manner, Shawnee developed a lifelong love and appreciation for nature. She found her way to Boston, where she experienced life in an urban setting until she eventually settled in San Diego. Shawnee has a passion for writing, teaching and learning. She works with private clients to facilitate physical and emotional health, growth and well-being through the practice of Yoga . She is the founder of Asanas for Autism and Special Needs, and has published a book in December 2014, Asanas for Autism and Special Needs: Yoga to Help Children with their Emotions, Self-Regulation and Body Awareness. Her purpose in life is to inspire others and to seek out others who inspire her. Connect with Shawnee via this website, this website, or her Facebook page, and follow her blog.
Shawnee Thornton
Shawnee Thornton

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