Once upon a time there was a little girl named Iris who lived in a nice house in a normal neighborhood in Indiana with her mom, dad and brother. They all loved one another very much. Iris’ dad had (what he thought was) an important job, but Iris could see that he took his work way too seriously. He stayed up late night after night, working on countless papers strewn across the dining room table.
Iris loved her daddy and often quietly tip-toed downstairs after everyone else was asleep to sit with him while he worked. She quietly arrived with crayons and paper in hand, ready to do her own work of drawing pictures. Her dad knew she should be sleeping, but found her nightly visits irresistible. His stern look always melted into a reluctant smile as she took her place across from him at the table. Outwardly, he didn’t want to encourage her, but secretly he wanted her there as much as she wanted to be there. It was the highlight of his day and night, and they reached an unspoken agreement.
At the table, Iris always drew pictures of her friends. Those simple drawings were far more important to her dad than she could have imagined. For him, she was “drawing” the two of them closer with her colorful creations—a relationship that grew stronger with each passing night. But in the midst of her innocent nightly visits, she couldn’t know how much she was teaching her dad about life. He was changing. Bit by bit. Night after night. More than he even realized. Her visits and their quiet talks taught him that the work and money weren’t as important as he thought. Slowly, he came to know that meaningful relationships were built on quality time together. The simple nightly acts of Iris drawing pictures delivered an indelible message to her dad of what really matters.
Iris grew up to become a wonderful mother, with a family of her own. Now, she watches her own little 4 year-old daughter “sneak down the staircase” with important messages to share. For her dad, the work nights at the dining room table have long since ceased and he finally began drawing his own pictures, just like she taught him to do.
And so it is: the never-ending cycle of children reminding parents of what they once knew, but somehow forgot, continues. Aha! moments still nudge us to remember or recover what really matters.
Below are two versions of the song “Drawing Pictures”—the original as it was written in 1983, and the expanded version as it was recorded in 2003.
Drawing Pictures 1983
Drawing Pictures 2003
From album – New Music
Track released – May 17, 2021
Cheryl Martlage – Lyrics, Vocals and Production
Emerson Martlage – Music, Guitar, Vocals and Production
Rosie June – Vocals, Guitar and Keyboard
Featured Art – Courtesy of Rosie and Dada
Inspiration – Remembering 4 year old Iris in 1983—wanting to recreate the original song exactly the way it was played back then, with just a guitar and one solitary voice.