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This is a gift for you.

This is a gift for you.

👩🏻‍🎨 It’s book release day for this one, and it is impossible to overstate how proud I am of her.

“This is a Gift for You,” is the best tiny poem I’ve ever read.

It isn’t just the words that move you— though they move me to tears every time.

It’s the pictures. It’s filled with paintings I got to watch her make, day after day, squirreled away in her tiny studio with big ideas born of small pencil sketches.

Even getting to see it happen, I don’t understand how it happens. How her hands with a light grip on a small brush create these tiny strokes to assemble a coherent, moving image out of small dots of color from her pallet. It is something to watch, and I don’t know if I’ll ever not be in awe of it.

This book; this collection of paintings and the tiny poem—it is about the simple things we give each other out of love.

It’s about how a lucky pebble you find on the beach can live next to you on your nightstand for decades, every day a little sparkling reminder of the first time you ever held hands and just knew.

It’s about how the smallest things, the things that don’t cost a dime can be worth so much when given with love. The love of a best friend. The love of a parent. The love only a child can have. The deep, adult, mature, complicated love that you’ve searched your whole life for, but never thought was possible. The best loves.

I’m so proud of what she achieved. What she was able to communicate with this book. Children will get it, but more so, the adults that read it to them will feel it. They’ll feel it as they read the words to the little ones they love so much. They’ll feel is as they look next to them and see their partners or parents or friends and the warm glow it brings to their faces.

She made this beautiful book, this work of incredible, articulated love, not with all the time in the world, but under deadline, during wild fires, ice storms and during the height of the pandemic, when the world was even more scary and unpredictable.

She made this book, pregnant, with our little girl inside her.

I’m so proud of her. Every day, but especially today, when the rest of the world gets a chance to see just a tiny sliver of how special she is.

A bunch of essays, photos and thoughts by Pat Castaldo.