This is how I remember my mother

This is how I remember my mother.

Knee deep in murky river waters, bending out the silt and salt so villagers could drink, could cook, could bathe their wounded and sick, sometimes to praise, sometimes to scorn, but always with a smile and soothing words, even as she wiped the spit from her cheek.

Waist deep in treaties, negotiations, and arguments, trusted as the Avatars companion, if not as my father's wife, if not as a peasant water bender from a dying tribe, if not as a woman who would never be a girl again, who had become a woman too young with all she had seen, had heard, had done.

Elbow deep in the blood of birth, of surgery, of death.

Neck deep in politics, in intrigue, in the whispers of court ladies as she walked past, blue eyes in sharp contrast to the red of her dress, and traditional hair loops peeking out from under the top-knot, braid swinging behind her, woven with gold ribbons.

Over her head in love with my father, the golden eyed beloved, mistrusted, blunt, misunderstood, with a heart to kind and a hand to hard Fire Lord, whose eyes followed her every movement until the day she died.