You may have noticed for the past few weeks Emily and Bessie have been doing the artwork for our posts. This has given me extra time to work on the illustrations for our next book.
Emily shared this drawing with me as soon as I got home from work on the evening before Valentine’s Day. While her beak and comb looked calm, I could tell by her twitchy tail feathers she was eager to give me her latest drawing. Who would have ever imagined that a slightly faded sheet of red construction paper could end up being so beautiful?
“Emily, that’s very pretty, and I like it tremendously. Do you need help adding some words like maybe ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’? I can spell the words for you.”
She shrugged her shoulders as if she was unsure what more needed to be said.
“It’s not really about Valentine’s Day,” Emily confessed. “I know you wanted a picture to share with everyone for Valentine’s Day. I’m sorry for letting you down. I don’t have a Valentine’s Day drawing for you.”
“What do you mean? There are valentine hearts all over it.”
“I know. But they are what you would call an artistic afterthought. They just fill the empty spaces between the chickens.”
“The drawing really isn’t about all of those valentine hearts. The most important part is all of the chickens who are dancing ballet. That’s what the picture is really about. I was hoping you would like that part the best and not worry about Valentine’s Day.”
“Why is that?”
“Because you’ve told us how you often think about us dancing ballet at night when you are trying to go to sleep.”
“That’s true. I always seem to sleep better when I imagine dancing ballerina chickens.”
“So this picture is really to wish you sweet dreams and a happy tomorrow. And it’s not for just one day, it’s for all days.”
“I think it’s the most wonderful picture you have ever made, and it’s much better than a picture for only Valentine’s Day.”
We smiled together.
“I am so lucky to have you in my life, Emily. This drawing has you all over it.”
“I don’t understand. None of those dancing chickens are me. They are all Gracie. She is the best dancer.”
“When I look at this picture you’ve drawn just for me, I can’t help but see you. But I don’t see you on the paper. I see you in my heart.”
Her comb blushed a bit redder and she hurried off to put away her art supplies for another day.
I thought about placing her drawing by the lamp near my bed. It would be the last thing I would see before turning out the light and the first thing I would see in the morning. But for that Valentine’s Day Eve, I just sat and enjoyed the pure beauty of who Emily is.
My Life With Gracie (and especially Emily) taught me love, real love, isn’t just for one day. It is for all days, and for sweet dreams, and for a happy tomorrow.
We have also included a sheet of “Art By Emily” Valentine’s Day cards you can download, print, and share. There are no words on the front or inside. When you print, cut, and fold them, you can add your own words if you’d like. I think they might also look nice framed…maybe on a bedside table?
Here’s wishing you, our readers, sweet dreams and a happy tomorrow!
Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!