aidan and meSitting at my computer, working on my various projects, I suddenly heard my own voice ring out from across the room: “So thank you for your participation in The Ideal Relationship Project.”  I turned around to find my son, Aidan,  had stumbled upon my Youtube channel for our community arts project, while searching for Spiderman re-enactments.

“Mami!” he looked up at me, smiling, and pointed at the screen. He’s four years old.

“Yeah, baby.”

He scrolled through playing video after video. After about ten, he and ambled over to my chair. “Mami. You do picture. Biiiiig one.”

His speech is a bit delayed and interpreting his sentences is sometimes a challenge. “You want me to do a big portrait of you?”

Peggy Pionke“No, Mami. You. Yoooouuu.” He held up the iPad, displaying the portrait on the screen. “Like Peg.”

“You like Peggy’s portrait?”

He shook his head, put the iPad down on the desk, and traced his fingers around the shape of my face. “You face. Big face. Eyes, nose, mouth, chin.”

“Oh, but honey, I’m working on something else right–”

“Now, Mami. Do it.”

File Sep 17, 11 12 28 AMWell, it was hard to disobey such a command, but I had sworn my self portrait would be the last one of the project. “Okay, we’ll do a sketch.” I printed out a template from Peggy’s portrait and started drawing a quick sketch.

Aidan put his hand on my arm. “No, Mami. Again. Big. Sloooow.”

A sFile Sep 17, 10 59 31 AMwell of emotion pressed against my chest. I couldn’t do my own portrait yet, I was only 47% done! Plus, despite the optimistic spirit of the project, I was feeling pretty cynical about relationships. “Okay, you tell me how.” We printed out another frame, and I had Aidan direct me.

Si.” He said, when we were finished. “Bueno.” Then, he kissed my cheek.

And I melted.

Totally made up for this 6am wake up call:



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