Hello there!

Welcome to my little corner of the ether. This is where you will find information about my books and musings on life and love in New York City. To stay in the loop about all things ADR...

JOIN THE LIST

tod It was indeed very fitting that the day I chose to write about Toddler's new glasses, I picked her up from camp and she ran at me waving a colorful piece of paper, saying, "Mommy, look what I made! It's me!" And in the hallway of Preschool, I studied it, the masterpiece above, and smiled. Big.

Her first self-portrait.

Sure, I'm proud of her artistic prowess, amazed that she is old enough to draw a picture of an identifiable person, but really, I am in love with the portrait itself (which we will frame and hang in the purple room which the girls will share thanks to a mixture of our instincts and your advice!). Why? Because of its sweet simplicity. Note that there is no hair, no clothes, no glasses. There aren't even hands or feet (hey, she's all of three). There are no accessories. It's just her. My girl. Know what else I love? That the smile is huge. That this little creature is awash in color. I know I am biased, but if you showed me this picture, I would say, The artist is a happy kid.

I adore this portrait for other, more selfish, reasons. Because it brings me back many years to a time when the world was rainbow and new. A time when big people (teachers) asked us an important question: How do you see yourself? A time when we were left to our own devices, our own imaginations, our own watercolors and crayons, to create. And our creations? They were lovely no matter what.

How do you see yourself?

When did people stop asking us this question? When did things change? When did it become a bit irrelevant how we see ourselves? When did it become more critical how others see us? When did the sublime swirls of color give way to prudent boxes of beige, soothing and safe, that appeal to the masses?

We do not need to go back in time. We don't even need construction paper or paint. We can ask ourselves and each other this question without the paraphernalia of preschool.

How do you see yourself?

And we can answer. Or try to. Our answers might be clumsy because we are out of practice. After so many years of worrying how the world sees us, we might not really know, or remember, how we see ourselves. But I think it is important, imperative even, that we try.

And so I will go first.

How do I see myself?

I am a wife and mother who does not know what she is doing, but loves what she is doing. An incurable girl who is one part responsibility and one part rebellion. Depending on the day, I am riddled with pathetic insecurity or exquisite confidence. I care too much about superficial things (numbers, quintessential success, appearances) but I also care too much about deep things. I am quite needy. I need: to be praised, to be loved, to be respected, to be needed. I write because I love it. I do my best writing when I am sad or scared. I am a work-in-progress at once seeking and shunning completion of the existential portrait that is me.

[Thank you, dear Toddler, for making me proud and making me think.]

How do you see yourself?

ILI DAILY CHARM

To see more amazing self-portraits, please check out my friend Kira Zmuda's fantastic blog The Mathematics of Glamour.

Thank You, Team LAY!

A Good Parent