Draw or paint I say: I can’t she says, I’m not a good artist. Paint something abstract…maybe for your wall: I can’t she says, it always turns out ugly. Use paper or glitter or crayons or SOMETHING and do mixed media collage: I can’t Mom, shes says, I don’t know what to make that will look good. Sad face. Sad Mom. Internally I scream PLEASE SEE YOUR OWN AMAZINGNESS LITTLE ONE!!! Please…just look and see it like I do!!! Then it struck me: Give the kid a fresh cartridge of Polaroid film and watch her go!! Last year we gave my girl an Instax Mini camera for her 12th birthday. We set her up with batteries and some film and she has had so much fun with it ever since: pretty sure somewhere in this mess of still (soon Robyn…SOON) unpacked boxes there are 100’s of little Polaroid pictures that document Ry’s last year. She takes a million selfies on her iPod everyday and drives me bonkers with stupid SnapChat filters. She becomes frustrated trying to get a good shot (why she always covers her mouth I have no idea??) But…when she uses the Instax: the photos she takes are so much more….meaningful. She suddenly gets the “value” of a picture. You can’t just delete and retake the photo: there are only 15 pictures for each cartridge, so the photo you take has to be “the one”. She still gets excited waiting for the picture to come alive. She STILL shakes it thinking it will develop faster. She is so proud of herself for each photo she takes. Suddenly the “I can’t” and the “I’m not an artist” disappears and she feels pride and excitement for what is she can do. Every single one of those shots have a story and carry meaning for her. I watch her look at her subject thoughtfully, adjust the lighting, adjust the angle, adjust her position and SNAP! My favorite are the ones that don’t “turn out”. She can look at those “a little bit blurry” or “a little bit too bright or too dark” shots and still manages to find beauty and art in them. I found some black and white film for her this Christmas that is still in the box: she is waiting to save it for something really special. I love that she is looking for that “special” moment to photograph. I love that she can look at little things: items around the house, a flower, a cloud, a snowflake or even a reflection on the glass table and see that as something she wants to capture. Not one selfie. Not a single “pensive look out the window like I have a record dropping next week” shot. All creative. All amazing. All incredible. Give a creative mind, that doesn’t realize she IS creative, a cartridge of Polaroid film and watch her go! I would love someday to give her a true film camera and watch her have a go with that and have to wait for the film to be developed!! She is currently sitting next to me, taking selfies on her iPod. Searching for the perfect one of course…while glancing every so often at the stack of photos she took today and a few pictures from a few months ago that are her most special, and the smile that twitches at the corners of her lips as she does this simple makes my heart soar!!! You did it Squish…you found your amazingness. Yay us!!!!