Since she was a child, Lily Wilk has wanted to be an artist. But by her late thirties, she's still forced to supplement her existence with trivial jobs - painting supermarket windows, designing T-shirts for tourists, and other tasks that hardly allow her to utilize her full artistic potential.
To make matters worse, Lily's husband Jack has just returned to his ex-wife - taking his son, Little Ted, with him. Going above and beyond most stepmothers, Lily had fully welcomed Little Ted into her home and heart.
One day, Lily receives an unexpected phone call. Mary Ziemba, the most successful businesswoman in town, has heard of Lily's talents, and wants to commission her for a special project. From a boxful of old photographs, Lily is to draw a portrait of Mary and her father, sister, brother, husband and son, as they appeared during the best times of their lives.
As she begins working on Mary's portrait, Lily learns from the stories of Mary's full life, detailing the journeys upon which her family members embarked, as Mary herself arrived in America as a poor Polish immigrant, working her way to financial success with a local supermarket chain. The more she becomes engrossed in the joys and failures of Mary's family, Lily begins to worry about capturing them exactly as they should be, and develops a block.
Lily forces herself to complete her work. By the time the portrait is complete - and Lily suddenly discovers what the TRUE reason for its commission was - she also understands that the concept of "family" is far more complex and all-encompassing than she'd ever imagined.
This report prepared by Joanna