Have you read this book? I typically read it every year to my kids because I love the message. And I like to pair it with an exploratory art lesson with water color paints. In case you are not familiar, let me give you a little retelling...
Vashti is not an artist. At least that's what she thinks. She doesn't believe in herself...
One day, while scowling at her blank paper, her art teacher implores her to do something...of course she says she can't and gets all grumpity about it and her art teacher says "Just make a mark and see where it takes you."
So she does. She jabs her paper, leaving a tiny little dot in the center of the page. "There!" she says.
Her teacher studies the paper for a while and hands it back, saying, "Now sign it."
Vashti is a bit puzzled.
But she is even more shocked when she returns to art class the next day and finds her mark framed and on display.
Soon she is on a mission...she can make a better dot than that!!
Before you know it, Vashti is a master of dot paintings...she paints dots of all sizes and colors. She paints one dot paintings and multi-dot paintings. She even makes a dot by NOT making a dot. Her one angry mark has inspired an unseen passion for art.
I use this book as a springboard for establishing a community in which we are all artists, readers, writers, mathematicians, etc. We can do anything we set our minds to...if we have the right attitude, we can succeed...we'll never know what we are capable of until we try...we are all uniquely wonderful and have a unique mark to make on the world...
Their accompanying images help to drive the uniqueness point and make for a beautiful bulletin board.
I have converted that line in the book, "Just make a mark and see where it takes you," to "Start with a Dot and see where it takes you..."
I play it over and over in my head when I start getting ahead of myself with this pregnancy. Or when I start worrying. Or when my anxiety rises. Or when guilt sets in and I feel like I haven't done enough to deserve this. Because even though I am exceedingly happy and am trying my darndest to stay up-beat, the ugly always finds its way in...
I have to remind myself to ride this ride. To let this pregnancy unfold. To see where it goes...to let it go and experience it.
In those moments I let myself get lost in the wonder that life starts with a microscopic dot. Literally, a dot! And then I replay the journey that that dot has been on up to the present...and when I do that, I can't help but relax a little knowing that, no matter what, this Dot is a masterpiece-in-progress that will forever change my life, no matter where it takes me.
I DON'T think I got here because I set my mind to it. I don't think it is because I had the right attitude (God knows I tried...but it wasn't always pretty). I don't think there is any good reason why I got pregnant when and how I did...besides biology just panned out for once.
I DO think there are circumstances in life we really don't have control over...there might be things we can try, but sometimes there is nothing we can do. In times like this...when we are staring at a paper with an angry little mark on it, when the uglies get the best of us and we doubt ourselves, I think the best thing we can do is own it...sign it and say "This is all I've got."
Because that, my friends, takes guts. And somebody might just admire what you've done and say, "That's enough for me."