Upon returning home the other evening, we were told Emma had become dysregulated because her favorite imax movie about the Hubble Space Telescope wouldn’t play. This is the self-portrait she drew, unaided.
The note along with this self-portrait said:
“Emma is sad. They want to turn it on. Mommy, I need help turning on Hubble Imax theatre.”
This is the first “self-portrait” Emma has ever made for us.
Do you see the tears? The eyes? The downturned smile? And then there are the Obama-like ears, which made me smile, and the hands! God I love those hands that she drew, like rakes. I stood in the kitchen staring at this drawing, this drawing drawn by my amazing little girl who was feeling so, so sad and I felt tears well up. I felt that constriction in your throat that only comes when you are about to cry and I felt proud. So, so proud of her for drawing this despite her sadness. My heart ached for her sadness and at the same time I felt awe. Awe in Emma. Awe in this world and all of it’s inhabitants and how little we really know or understand. I felt humbled by the enormity of those feelings and by her. My little girl. My beautiful, expressive daughter. My Emma. This child that I have been so fortunate to have enter my life. This child who has taught me to see beyond what I believe is real, to strive to understand what I cannot, to push past my fears, to be present in a way that I never knew was possible. This child… this unique and stunning child.
It is yet another example of the incredible life I find myself inhabiting. It is a life and world filled with beauty and appreciation. It is an enviable life. An inspired life. A life I would not trade for anyone’s.
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What an expressive drawing! And a self-portrait too. She’s really beginning to connect. That one brought tears to my eyes, too.
Thank you Mom.
Or maybe she’s always connected, but now is figuring out ways to express it that we can understand..
Sending you love. XX
I just came from a lecture/performance at Juilliard given by Dr. Edward Bilous, the newly-named Director for Juilliard’s new Center for Imaginative Artistry. He compared old models of learning based on linear acquisition of knowledge, to a newer model consisting of a web of entry-points of exploration. Imagining, not archiving. Creating, not consuming. I’m summarizing hurriedly and badly. but I could not stop thinking about Emma. The model of experiencing that she embodies and what we should be learning from her. Ariane, you are opening our eyes.
Barli, what a lovely thing to say. Thank you. I’d love to hear more about the lecture.
PS. Emma. You too. Opening our eyes.
Ariane, I’m hoping it gets posted to the Juilliard website. I will let you know. xoxo
I have told many people about this since I left that night. This is amazing! I kept saying, “But you don’t get it; this is HUGE!”
Oh Laura, thank you for writing this. And thank you for getting it. HUGE! HUGE!
Wow, what an amazing girl Emma is! I love how she drew her hands. That is how I imagine my son’s own perception of his hands. He is either really sensory avoiding with his hands and clamping them shut, and at times extremely sensory seeking input. I’ve always imagined in my mind that he feels his hands proportionally larger than rest of his body, if that makes sense. It took him forever to point to his elbows and shoulders (when he was younger) b/c his hands overwhelmingly took over. I love how she was able to express her feelings and her desire for help. In third grade, I cheated on my spelling test (first time and last!) and got caught. The teacher asked me to draw a picture of what I did and how I felt. I couldn’t drew the act, but I couldn’t draw the emotion! I would say Emma’s self-awareness and expression of her feelings would be amazing for any child!
I thought so too. Just fantastic and beautiful. I loved reading your thinking on the hands, I wonder if she feels that way, too.