This portrait will be on the SCBWI Draw This page in early April. The prompt for this month was “Lucky.” As I brainstormed ideas, I looked up synonyms for lucky, which brought me to “Blessed.” The funny thing is, my friend and I had just been having a conversation recently about the phrase “Good Luck,” and the meaning behind it. Luck can be such an abstract concept with superstitious connotations. We all say, “Good Luck!” without thinking anything of it. It’s a cultural nicety basically used to mean, “I wish you well.” My friend comes from a Jewish background, so I half-jokingly offered “Mazel Tov” as an alternative. We laughed and our conversation moved on. But, in a way, I really like the message of “Mazel Tov,” which (according to Fiddler on the Roof) means: “a blessing on your head.” Now, I think even that phrase is basically taken as good luck or congratulations. But I like the imagery of a blessing being place on your head! There is something a little more meaningful about blessing someone. Placing that blessing on their head is like crowning them with encouragement. I know I can always use encouragement! I also know I don’t always give it out to others as I should. We can be a blessing or a curse to those around us…and much of that has to do with our words.
All syntactical debate aside, when I think of how I’m blessed, my littlest niece quickly comes to mind. She (along with her parents) has been living with me for several months while my brother sells their townhouse and looks for a bigger place. Entering into this living arrangement, I looked forward to her toddler age and stage. My time with her has been even more of a blessing than I’d imagined! Nighttime routines, snuggles, kisses, playing make-believe with her baby doll, eating pretend food, building cardboard houses, coloring (mostly, she tries to eat the marker), dancing to nursery songs, all the new words she says weekly (including her name for me…which started as Memew and is transitioning now to Mahyee). Last, but not least, I LOVE reading books with her! The portrait above is from a moment caught on camera by my mom. It belies my niece’s inability to sit still. Yet, it perfectly captures the trust, the gentleness, the wonder of time spent reading with a child. As a writer and illustrator, story time has always been my favorite time. As an aunt, story time will always be a blessing.