The ultimate creative act

“spiral labyrinth” is 5x7, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper. The original is not for sale, but there is a card with this image reading, “you are a gift to the world”. © Annette Makino 2018

“spiral labyrinth” is 5x7, painted with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors on paper. The original is not for sale, but there is a card with this image reading, “you are a gift to the world”. © Annette Makino 2018

With Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday, I’ve been thinking about how parenthood is the ultimate creative endeavor. What an amazing process it is to create and raise a small human!

Parenting my two kids has been the most challenging adventure of my life. In the early years, there are the physical demands: pregnancy, of course; childbirth (ask me about our unplanned home birth); breastfeeding night and day; endless diapers; sleep deprivation . . .

fear of ghosts
our son materializes
by the bed

And there is the emotional toll: we experienced multiple ER visits, an episode involving the sheriff’s search and rescue team, and a helicopter flight with our then-toddler on a respirator due to a life-threatening asthma attack.

Plus there was the everyday drama of growing up. Once when she was seven, just before running away from home for a few minutes, our daughter declared: “I’m being treated like a rag on the emperor’s dungeon floor!” (We resolved the issue by agreeing that if she praised her brother when he peed in the potty, she could have a Skittle too.)

About age three, while taking a bath, our son once asked, “Why is water wet?” After a long day of trying to answer his incessant “why” questions, Annette replied, “It just is.” Undaunted, he responded, “Why is it just is?” 

Then there were the teen years . . .

my baby’s navel
once connected us—
now she wants to pierce it

family dinner
our teen speaks
in hashtags

my teen’s new skirt
handkerchief-sized
God bless

And there really aren’t any shortcuts in parenting. Just as you think you’re getting it figured out, the kid grows a little older and you have to change your approach again. A sixteen-year old just isn’t motivated by Skittles the way a toddler is.

But despite all the challenges, being a mom has been the greatest privilege and blessing of my life, full of moments of unexpected sweetness.

sick in bed
my child comes to read me
fairy tales

the nape of his neck the leap of my heart

last college app
my son and I
high-five

A parenting moment circa 2006.

A parenting moment circa 2006.

Our daughter Maya, almost 22, is in her last week of a magical semester of studying at an intensive art program in Aix-en-Provence, France, on her way to a degree in art education. A panel of judges just unanimously awarded her a prize for the best student painting of the semester, for an oil painting of a blossoming almond tree.

Our son Gabriel, who will turn 18 this summer, is about to graduate from high school having completed the academically rigorous International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. He was accepted into his first choice of schools, Whitman College in Washington State, with a generous four-year scholarship. 

More importantly, these little bundles of joy and aggravation have developed into wise, kind, thoughtful adults—people I’d love to hang out with even if we weren’t related. I’m really looking forward to June, when the four of us will spend three and half weeks traveling and hiking around Spain and Southern France together.

While the heavy lifting of motherhood is behind me, there is still so much to savor ahead. Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and to mothers everywhere, who do such demanding and vital work. You are amazing!

Mother's Day
their hand-drawn cards
break my heart wide

Makino Studios News

Mother’s Day Market: This fair takes place this Saturday, May 11 from 10 to 5 at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds in Ferndale, CA. Find the perfect gift and card for Mom! Admission is $3. This is my only scheduled public event until the fall.

Cards for Moms, Dads and grads: I have a selection of special cards for Mother’s Day (May 12), Father’s Day (June 16) and graduation—plus a wide assortment for birthdays, weddings, and everyday. Use promo code 6CARDS to get 15% off six or more single cards (US orders only).

ukiaHaiku award: I’m delighted to share that this haiku took second place in the ukiaHaiku Festival’s Dori Anderson Award last month:

petrichor
threading my way
through earthworms

Vacation plans: I will be in Spain and Southern France June 4-27, so shipping of orders may be quite delayed. My apologies for any inconvenience!

Thank you: I really appreciate all the responses to my last blog post, “How a painting is born.” I love hearing from readers and respond to every message and comment.