I have been walking by and gazing at this portrait–created by Oscar on 25 June 2008–for the last several days. It hangs in a place of honor in our kitchen. And each time I walk by it, I am struck again and again. It is his first portrait–of his grandmother–created on the back of a placemat one afternoon when we were all out to lunch. I watched him create it, deliberate over it, study his grandmother, then make his marks on the paper. Her short hair, glasses, and lipstick are all recognizable–not just to him or to his parents–but to objective parties. And though, as parents, I know we are imbued with a sense of awe every time our child makes a new stride, I can’t help but think how it wasn’t that long ago when Oscar was using crayons as teething toys (we didn’t let that go on too long) and, rather recently, hammers. Now, the crayon is a tool–a tool of expression. My aunt Janice has hanging in her living room two works of art created by her children as preschoolers. And though her children–like myself–are now firmly entrenched in middle age, the art still hangs as a reminder of the beauty of budding creativity and how vital it is to nurture it. Oscar has already achieved the pinnacle of my artistic talent. (Stick figures are where I end.) I can’t wait to see what he creates next.