Mother’s Day in May

Tara stands outside our yurt, waiting for water to boil for coffee, one morning last May. We had dragged the picnic table under the awning and out of the rain, so as to keep the end of the table dry.

I am tired of the rain and cool temperatures, but I keep reminding myself that it’s normal for where I live, near Portland, Oregon. After moving here, I noticed that it often dried up the day after Independence Day; Mother Nature cruelly making sure to ruin our holiday celebrations first, and then finally relenting. I imagined my morose rumination original, but while scrolling through TikTok videos complaining about Portland rain today, I saw many comments from people who said things like “I’ve lived here for 49 years, and the rain doesn’t stop till July 5th.” I might have been clever, but not original.

But it does seem especially wet and cool this year, and it turns out it’s not my imagination: Portland is experiencing the wettest April, May and June of the past 81 years. Local mariners, city planners, and infrastructure managers are keeping an eye on potential Columbia River flooding. If you consider how huge the river is, that would be a serious flood. Local totals measure 12.23 inches of rain since April 1, and the average is about 5 inches. AND, it is raining at my house at this very moment.

Ok, so, since it’s too wet to go outside and do yardwork like I should be doing (the grass is SO deep out there), I have time to think about something else, like maybe a long overdue couple of blog posts. You know what I haven’t done yet is tell y’all what I did on Mother’s Day! It was over a month ago, but I’ve been so busy with school and all my other things, I haven’t written about it yet.

Giraffe and Hornbills perched on its back. In the periphery, you can spot a rooster, a bear, and a lion with a lamb.

Tara and I have a tradition of camping on Mother’s Day, rain or shine. Since Tara graduated, they actually had time this year to camp for real (last year all they could spare was time to go on a picnic) and suggested two nights instead of our usual one. Just for fun, we decided to rent a yurt, like Pedro and I had done for his birthday in February. So we did and we had a blast. And it did rain, but not all the time.

First, I drove down to Albany, Oregon and picked Tara up from work at the Historic Carousel Museum. They had handed out carnations to moms early in the day, and Tara had nabbed one for me, knowing they would all be gone by the time I got there. T handed me my flower and told me to get in line. It was Sunday, Mother’s Day, and all mothers were invited to ride for free. I definitely accepted the invitation!

Quagga Zebra
Freedom the horse, with a Red Tailed Hawk. Behind is Sir Adrian Chapman, the armored horse. You can spot a salmon and a unicorn way in the back.

I arrived just before closing on purpose, and rode the carousel and walked around and took photos while Tara cleaned up and closed up and locked up.

Tez, the antelope, with a buffalo, a dragon, and an elephant.
Peace, the lioness, with a lamb and dove. Behind her is Neal the greyhound, The Guardian the Hippocampus, and Zeus the Zebra.

I take so many photos every time I visit Tara here, because I think the animals are amazing. I’ve never even heard of such a variety before and I really love it. Tara and I then began the beautiful drive to the coast, where we would spend the next two nights.

We stayed in a yurt operated by South Beach State Park near Newport, Oregon. I had reserved it online. When we arrived at the park, we stopped at the visitors’ information building where I signed a form and was handed the key. We drove into the campground and easily found our yurt.

Tara and I unpacked our gear and began to settle in. This view is standing at the entrance and looking at the back wall.

This yurt was not as spacious as the one I rented for Pedro’s birthday in February. As with all Oregon State Park yurts, you must bring your own bedding. We brought sleeping bags for simplicity. The fancy one in February had a small kitchen and a great bathroom, and this one did not. It was still spacious and dry and had electricity, so we cranked up the heat and made a nice toasty cocoon for us to return to when we were cold and wet. The bathrooms, with showers, were a short walk away.

Looking at the entrance from one side.
Looking at the entrance from the other side.

With the three photos above, you can see that it is a comfortably large space with a futon that can be made into a bed, and bunk beds. It would comfortably sleep five people. The construction is evident in the photos as well: a frame of thin wooden slats, covered with a waterproof tarp. Let me show you the roof:

Tara chose the top bunk and prepared their bedding beneath the plexiglass dome topper.

We chatted incessantly until nighttime. Both of us were ending an exhausting week and soon settled into silence.

The yurt at night
My view of the Big Dipper (or The Plough, for some of you) while lying on my bunk and looking up through the plexiglass top of our yurt.

The next morning, we took showers at the nearby bathroom, and it was not too bad. Our location was such that we did not have to walk past any camps at all, to get to the bathroom, which I appreciated.

View of forest and wild rhododendrons along the path to the bathroom.
Close up of rhodies during a moment when the sun lit them up.
Hitching post outside the women’s bathroom.

We spent the next two days exploring the area. Tara knows it well due to multiple field trips with their geology classes at Oregon State University, and then multiple pleasure trips with friends and their partner Cameron. But I’ll cover those explorations in a future post.

From here you can see cars parked for the two adjacent yurts. We were on the end, so we had privacy on one side.
Tara pours coffee from the metal and plastic French press I have specifically in order to make good coffee while camping.

Tara and I had recently clashed on the topic of their future employment, and both of us are strong-willed and ready to fight for our own interests. We hate fighting with each other though. I am struggling to sever the parenting ties. I still want the best for my child more than ever, so it’s hard to let go and let them make decisions that seem unwise to me. Tara, at 24 years old, has every right to make their own decisions, but it can be hard for me to accept them. We had made up by that time, but my heart was still aching over the fight and it was good to be together for a nice long time to salve the wounds.

There was a lot of rain, but a surprising dash of sunshine here and there too, so we got a little bit of everything and had a marvelous time catching up.

9 thoughts on “Mother’s Day in May

    1. Yes, it was really quite luxurious compared to the tents we usually use when camping. We could stand up, sit at a table, turn on the heat…ahhhh 🙂 Tara and I always get along well. Even when we have a difficult conversation, it ends and then we are close again. I feel very fortunate to have this relationship with my child.

  1. What a fun adventure for you both. I love seeing the inside of the yurt. I remember my camping days and it was fun to be creative in how we sustained our creature comforts. Like coffee! I do understand about the letting go and letting them fail even when you see it coming. Unfortunately, that’s how it’s meant to be but they get to deal with the consequences of those choices as well. H lives right on the river’s edge and the facility I thought about moving into on River road was a little too close for my comfort. I just had a bad feeling about being that close, but again, I can’t make the decision for anyone else. I have a niece in Albany and been there many times. Never went to see the carousel though. It’s very unusual but I think I remember you writing about the process of restoration a while back. Dry and hot here. Praying for rain but not too much. 🙂 Hugs.

    1. I wish I could share my rain with you, Marlene. I know it’s been exceptionally hot in Arizona and here we have had record high rainfall. If only there was a way to share our weather and balance it out. Thanks for your encouragement with Tara. Poor decisions seem like such a waste when I’ve convinced myself I know a better decision. But…I’m no genius, so I’m probably not as right as I think I am! Especially when it comes to parenting. You have negotiated your input well, and have kept a close relationship with your kids. I aim to do the same. Yes this was a great adventure. Just wait till you read the next two posts. It was a lot of fun and helped me feel close to my Tara again.

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