This Mother’s Day was my very first one with Phoebe! Travis got me a dozen red roses. I look forward to paper beaded necklaces and other crafty mother’s day presents from Phoebe in the years to come. This year my story was shared in the Yakima Herald Republic along with a few other women, about what it was like to give birth during a pandemic in the Yakima Valley. My next door neighbor Sarah was also in the article! I sometimes think about that time and tear up. Not everything you share gets published of course, but I told the interviewer that my pain point isn’t what happened, but what didn’t happen. I didn’t get to hold her like I should have when she was first born. I was alone in my bed that first night. I didn’t get that initial bonding time. I know I get all of that now and we’re all healthy and happy, but I missed out on experiencing those unique special moments of newness and awe.
My own mother was there for me though, she drove me around the next day to help me find a COVID test, bought me a coffee at The Human Bean, drove me to Spokane and set us up in a hotel. I’m so thankful for my mom. Even though we butted heads a lot when I was growing up, she’s always been there for me and a good strong leader & teacher to me.
For my mom this year, I gave her a black tote bag designed by Mary Englebright. It’s from the artist’s “dark” series, “Mary Engledark.” I chose this tote for her because it’s the May calendar image my mom used to go public with on Facebook about her recent diagnosis this year of breast cancer. She had stage one, and it was the most common kind, but she decided it would be best to get a double mastectomy rather than the cancer coming back when she was old and didn’t have good insurance or the same strength. After surgery, I went over to visit and put a few neon pink streaks of dye in her hair. Unfortunately, biopsy showed that it had gone into her lymph nodes, but after a second removal surgery, pathology says that she is now cancer-free.
Recently, I finally completed a commissioned painting for a hilarious, spunky, generous, and kind woman named Erin from Seattle. She wanted me to paint a pet portrait of her bunny, “Boat.” We decided to paint him on a yacht. I titled it “Captain of My Own Boat.” Erin was thrilled when she got it. And because my mom has been traveling to Seattle for her cancer appointments, she was able to hand deliver the oil painting. (Since it hadn’t yet cured, that saved Erin like $50 for shipping, and me the anxiety that it would get all smudged and ruined!)