Today is the birthday of one of my husband's sisters, the sixth out of the eight children in his family. I met her when I was a shy high school sophomore who had just started going out with her brother over the summer and she was a shy little girl of six. It was my first time at my boyfriend/future husband's house, and while her two younger siblings danced around me chattering, she stood hiding in the doorway of the living room, too shy to talk to me. She could barely make eye contact when her mother introduced us. (I totally "got" her, being a shy person myself.) She was such an adorable little girl, blond and blue-eyed, with the cutest freckled button nose. That nose was as cute as...well, it was as cute as a button, that's what it was. A tiny little ski jump nose, the likes of which I'd never seen. I was so taken with the cuteness of that nose, and the face that went with it, that I went home and tried to sketch it from memory. I did a pencil drawing of that little girl's profile, a crudely rendered doodle that didn't even begin to do her justice; but I showed it to my boyfriend, and he showed it to his family. And from then on, every time I went over to his house, the four youngest Pearls (especially the two youngest, who were three and four at the time) would say, "Draw me!"
None of the drawings I did of those incredible little faces were all that great, especially since I'm not gifted enough to draw objects that are in motion (and boy, was my husband's youngest brother--who was 100% boy through and through!--in constant motion when he "sat" to have his portrait done). Not surprisingly, though, from then on it seemed that all of the faces I doodled in the margins of my school notebooks resembled my husband's siblings. My mother always used to tease me that every face I ever drew looked like a Pearl.
After all these years, I am seeing my sister-in-law's upturned button nose in the faces of the littlest members of our family. Her two-year-old daughter definitely has it. My twin granddaughters have it. It's just the cutest thing imaginable. Anyway, Happy Birthday, A! You're not as shy as you used to be, but your nose is still adorable.
And by the way, I forgot to post Happy Birthday wishes to some other important women in the family who've celebrated birthdays in the past month or so: my mom, my sister (who hit the big 5-0, although she'd probably prefer I didn't mention that), my daughter-in-law, and another one of my Pearl sisters-in-law, one of the original "Draw me!" bunch. I love you all!