Friday, August 6, 2010

Art, music, a thunderstorm and boys...

When I decided to take the boys into D.C. today for a museum and a concert, I knew it would be an unforgettable day.  It remained to be seen why it would be unforgettable.  At the end of the day, would my inner monologue be this:
"Why, why, why do I have to learn the hard way.  Four small children in the city - what was I thinking???"
or this:
"I'm so glad I didn't stay home and catch up on laundry."

Well, the stars were perfectly aligned and it was a magical day.  After a pretty spastic search for parking, in which the cheapskate in me was relieved not to be tantalized by a metered parallel spot I had no hope of utilizing, we visited the Corcoran Gallery of Art.  One of our favorites was the pair  above, The Departure and The Return by Thomas Cole.  It shows a lord departing for battle with his knights and returning on his deathbed with a riderless horse.

The Chuck Close exhibit was the showstopper for us, though.  This is not the style of art that I naturally gravitate toward, but the boys were intrigued.  I took a closer than usual look and loved it.  His work is amazing - truly.  It's difficult to see here, but the black and white portrait is done in fingerprints.  Can you believe that level of detail using only fingerprints?  Another portrait was woven in a rug.  One was made from rolled cardboard and another from layered paper.

After the museum, we bought lunch at a hot dog stand and ate here during a thunderstorm.  We read one of our medieval tales and the boys played tag and soldiers.

Next we took the subway to the Kennedy Center.  Bryan fell asleep and was thoroughly unconscious for the entire experience, so we had to ride the subway one stop on the way back to the car because he needed to.
There is a free concert every night on the Millenium Stage at the Kennedy Center.  Tonight was the Navy band's jazz ensemble.  The boys' attention spans decreased at rates inversely proportional to their ages, but for a time, they were each enthralled.  I loved it - both the music and the spirit of the Millenium Stage project.  It feels like a bit of a miracle to walk up to a free concert with people who have all decided to listen to something beautiful today.

Things That Made Today Awesome:
  • I didn't pay attention to how long it took to get to the Kennedy Center (stroller + subway + shuttle + rain + rush hour = a long time).  The boys didn't care how long it took because the subway is magical for them in the way the Millenium Stage is for me.
  • Drizzle alone would have been annoying, but an all out thunderstorm 1) was cool and 2) gave us perspective.
  • No one broke anything in the museum store even though I stayed at least ten minutes beyond the dictates of Wisdom.
  • There is no reasonable explanation for it, but Rand had only two short naps and no major meltdown.
  • I brought cameras for the boys to use at the art museum.  You are guaranteed approximately twenty minutes of intense interest in the arts when you bring cameras.  I now have about 200 blurry art photos on my phone.  This one came out well, though.  How does someone sculpt marble to look like a finely draped veil?
  • There were a handful of older women who stopped me and said something kind about my children.  In each case, they could have chosen to notice something less praiseworthy, but instead they saw what was good and encouraged me.  I want to be like that when I grow up.
Truly, one of my favorite things in life is when I do something that's at a minimum ill-advised, and often more completely delusional, and it works - like taking the boys to a cabin for a week each summer by myself.  It does bite me in the butt sometimes, though.  Taking 3 children, two of whom must be carried, on a strenuous hike an hour and a half from home SUCKS!


  1. Just wondering... what do the dictates of Wisdom say is an appropriate amount of time to spend in a museum gift shop with little kids? 1 min? None? :)

  2. If there are sample colored pencils, nonbreakable squeaky toys and not too many other shoppers to annoy, you have about 10 minutes.

  3. You're braver than I ever was or would ever be! But I'm so glad that you make all of these wonderful memories for your boys. --Gran


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