A garden rose in lavender. (All pictures by Marylin WArner)

A garden rose in lavender.
(All pictures by Marylin WArner)

Patron Saint of Lovers

Patron Saint of Lovers

Santa Ana

Santa Ana

Dear Mom,

In LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, Jane Austen wrote this: “The Very first moment I beheld him, my heart was irrevocably gone.”

It’s true, isn’t it, Mom?  One glance, and you can lose your heart.

I’m going to share the poem you wrote in 1990 and show our readers just how true love at first glance was in your experience.

“SHOPPING MALL ROMANCE”   ~by Mary Shepherd

Surrounded by parcels I sat there,

On a bench in the shopping park mall.

I had finished my Christmas shopping

And in exhaustion feared I might fall.


I could see him coming toward me;

His eyes sought mine all the while.

I tenderly watched his quick footsteps.

He held out his arms with a smile.


I glanced at the pretty young lady

Who possessively grabbed for his hand.

Did she know what a treasure she held there?

The greatest in all our fair land.


He fell on my lap and clung to me.

I patted his plump-diapered rear:

A seventy-two-year-old grandma,

And a fifteen-month toddler so dear.

I love this poem, Mom. Every child is precious to you, and each one makes you fall in love.  What a wonderful, creative way to live!

In her book, THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION, author Brene Brown says there is no such thing as “creative and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t.”

Thanks, Mom, for a lifetime of using your creativity.   Love, Marylin

Mary's great-grandchildren, Grace and Gannon

Mary’s great-grandchildren,
Grace and Gannon

single rose


Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, lessons about life, Mary Shepherd's poetry, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren, special quotations, Things to be thankful for

58 responses to “MARY’S ONGOING ROMANCE

  1. Thank you, Kate. This is one of my favorite poems by my mother.

  2. Dear Marylin, Thanks to you and your mother, as always . . . beautiful post. Ellen

  3. “Sometimes we walk by faith and not by sight.” Thank you for reminding us of that, Ellen. I’m learning that sometimes we also write by faith.

  4. kathleen durbin


  5. juliabarrett

    Oh…. I so understand. I love my children with a grand all-consuming passion. They are my best work.

  6. A wonderful poem and such a great way to introduce it. A lovely surprise in the end (a bit of a pun intended)

  7. Carol Stoffel

    I love this!!! 👶

    • Thanks, Carol. This is one of my favorite poems by my mother. It says so much about her, and why I want Grace and Gannon to know more about her despite her dementia now.

  8. Jim

    As toddlers Grace and Gannon gave Mor-Mor-Mor Mary spontaneous hugs and cuddles. Even now as eight and nine year olds, they do not hesitate to do the same. Children feel welcomed and loved when near her. The poem perfectly represents Mary’s love and devout respect for all children.

    • It is a perfect poem about her, isn’t it. And she’s always loved her family: her husband, children, grand- and great-granchildren, nieces and nephews, siblings and their spouses…and her wonderful son-in-law, Jim. One of the highest tributes she could give, she gave to you: “Jim is such a good daddy to Molly.”

  9. This poem makes me smile! Wonderful! Today I saw little Charlie from next door splashing barefoot though the mud puddles at Scarborough Faire. He was the hit and completely upstaged the performer on stage! We laughed, and some took off shoes and joined him to celebrate mud between their toes. Great stuff!.

    • It takes a child to remind us of the the smell of peanut butter as well as the taste, the thrill of mud between our toes as well as amazing art we can make when we traipse across a clean floor, and how warm and hopeful and loving a spontaneous hug can be.
      You need to give little Charlie a portion of the ticket sales, K. !

  10. So sweet! I loved the twist. Toddler time is the best!

    • Oh, I do agree, Jenny. There’s nothing like a toddler’s wobbly walking and curious investigating–accented with the cutest smiles–to melt our hearts and have hope in the next generation.

  11. Sitting at the breakfast table with Ishbel and just read this out to her with a tear in my eyes as I got to the end Way to go Grandparents.

    I get this every time with my grand kids and at Christmas time Granddad, on his own, goes shopping with the grand kids to the local mall to supplement Santa’s gifts with that one special present they purchase with their own money for Moms and dads

    Fabulous stuff Marylin, just fabulous

    • Thank you, Tom. You are always so generous with your praise.
      I can just see you, taking your grandkids Christmas shopping to supplement Santa’s gifts. These are the memories that we–and our grandchildren–remember. “Way to go, Grandparents” is right!

  12. Daniela

    As always; beautiful, warm, full of humanity and sincerity!
    Thank you,

  13. The poem made me smile. Your mother’s creative spirit must have found a natural companion in the inherent creativity of children.

    • What a beautiful observation, and I think you’re right. It makes sense. Even now with the dementia, she is responsive to children, to their antics and on-going chatter, to their smiles and hugs. Her creative spirit IS drawn to theirs. Thank you!

  14. Thank you for sharing your mother’s beautiful poem, Marylin. I love the quote by Brene Brown.

  15. winsomebella

    A gem of a poem—thanks for sharing it :-).

  16. What a sweet poem. I enjoyed this post.

  17. Beautiful.

    My grandparents were both lovers of babies. Such a pure, and delightful love is rare to find. So your mom has that, too…

    I often think my grandmother and your mother would have been best of friends. Certainly they would have shared a special understanding between them. (which I’m beginning to see that we also share between us)

    • Oh, Tracy, I think you’re right…about our mothers and about us. There is a special understanding, and there have been times when I’ve read one of your posts that I definitely felt the connection. I also think we were both raised and influenced by very special mothers.
      My dad, and my maternal grandmother and granddad, were also terrific advocates of children, and each time a baby was around it was a special time for them. I had good role models.

  18. This is such a wonderful, fun poem! I’m so glad you visited and liked my post, so I could drop in and discover you! What a great idea for a blog….

  19. Marylin, the love your mother has for the little ones beams like the sun in this lovely poem. It makes me long for the days of grandchildren… that I hope are in my future. 🙂 What a sweet lady!

    Blessings ~ Wendy

  20. Diana Stevan

    How lovely of you to share this gem, Marylin. Being a grandmother myself, it’s the kind of love that grabs your heart and never lets go. Hugs.

  21. Jane Thorne

    The love contained in this piece shines out to warm us all and I just love the picture of Grace and Gannon and their little sun hats…simply beautiful post Marylin. Xx

  22. So wonderful that you have some of these touching pieces of your mother’s creativity that you can embrace.

    • Some of her writing notebooks and folders disappeared during the move from their house into assisted living, LuAnn. Now I’m nearing the end of some of her “finished” writing that is left, but it all means so much to me. Thanks for your comments.

  23. P Marston

    I really love this entry, Marylin. Precious — and you are creating quite a legacy for your family! Love, Pammeee

    Date: Sat, 25 May 2013 21:38:55 +0000 To:

    • Yea! Your comment did come through, Pam! I’m so glad. With all the talking and sharing we do about our mothers–yours in Arizona and mine in Kansas–whenever I post one of my mom’s poems I think about all the poetry your mother is still writing. It makes me smile when you call your mother and she says she’s written another poem, and you get a copy of it and print it for her, and extra copies for her friends at her assisted living. Our mothers are leaving legacies with their creativity!

  24. I can imagine her laughing when she finished writing the poem, knowing how we readers would react!

    • Absolutely, Darla!
      Or, she might also have wanted to go to the store and walk around, hoping some tired mother with a sweet toddler would be walking around, too, and Mom would get to hug a baby.

  25. jakesprinter

    Thanks for sharing This beautiful post , There is something in my mind about your Sta Ana photo ,Beautiful 🙂

  26. Hi, Jake.
    Santa Ana is supposedly the Patron of Grandmothers and Mother-Child Relations (if you click on the picture, you can read it on her wall block), so I think she’s pretty sweet. Thanks, Jake.

  27. Hi Marylin,
    I so behind this week, but I’m here now. 🙂
    I loved this heartfelt poem, and the unique twist at the end.
    It surprised and made me smile. 🙂

  28. I love this poem. As a grammy, I can relate. Our children – and others – are very precious.

  29. Amy

    Thank you so much for sharing the beautiful poem!

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