Gratitude for Lunch Napkins

One of the many things I’m grateful for this year is my little boy and the gifts of imagination and inspiration he gives me. He also teaches me the value of iterating and innovating using a limited set of materials and parameters by asking me to draw a unique napkin for his lunch each day. He shares his ideas so freely, it’s impossible to not be inspired by the power of a child’s natural collaboration skills. I learn from him every day that teams work best when each member brings something, even something seemingly small, to the table.

I’ll share just a few of these:

A big, smokey explosion with stuff flying everywhere that says BOOM, drawn on a white napkin with a black marker.
“Daddy, today will you please draw an explosion for me? A smokey one with stuff flying everywhere that goes BOOM?”
A dandelion with seeds being blown into the wind, drawn on a white napkin with blue marker.
And, “Will you please draw a blue dandelion with some seeds blowing away in the wind, daddy?”
A rocketship drawn on a white napkin with fire coming out of the engine and you can see the Earth.
“Daddy, will you please draw a rocket ship for me? With fire coming out of the engine + you can see the Earth?”
“Daddy, how about a chicken dressed up like a pumpkin for Halloween?”
A giant squid drawn on a white napkin with a black marker.
“Daddy, today will you please draw a giant squid that’s white? Just by itself, daddy!”
A black bomb drawn on a white napkin with a red, yellow and orange lit wick.
“Daddy, would you please draw a bomb for me? Because I think you’re the bomb, daddy!”
Merry Christmas, daddy
“Daddy, it’s Christmas time! Will you please draw Rudolph for me?”
T Rex
“Daddy, how about today you draw a T-Rex!”
blue. smiling shark
“Will you please draw a friendly, blue shark, daddy? And he’s smiling at us!”
ice mountains with Moon and stars
“Daddy, today please draw some ice mountains and the Moon and stars are shining!”

And, I’m especially in love with the moments when he challenges me to draw things that are way outside my comfort zone with ideas from the imaginations of great artists who’ve inspired us all:

Charles Schulz' Woodstock. His yellow head and shoulders drawn on a white napkin.
“Daddy, will you please draw Woodstock for me today?”
“Hey, dad! I know! Draw Beaker!”
“Daddy, can you draw Donald Duck, please? He’s kinda hard.”
“Just keep swimming! Draw Dory, daddy!”
“Okay, daddy, today please draw Wall-E.”

This is all just to say that it’s often seemingly little things, in the unsuspected parts of life, that inspire me in work, play, and in everything I do.

Dad used to say, “How someone does anything is how they do everything.”

So, cloud-sized buckets of gratitude to my sweet boy for consistently giving me gifts of inspiration and collaboration that powers other parts of my life. No small thing. Just in case you read this when you’re older and learn to read, Dash, you should know I’m also grateful that you’re starting to draw with me! That’s the greatest gift of all because I didn’t even know I could draw things like this until you showed up! You’re an inspiration in so many ways. Thank you, my sweet pal.

Meanwhile, ’tis the season to wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!