Because I Wanted To

Yesterday I took the kids to the Andy Warhol Museum. An art museum is a risky move on a Thursday after school, but I figured if we went during the last hour of the day at least it wouldn't be crowded, plus I had to be downtown later that evening and planned to pass the kids off to M when he was done with work.

Frankly, I didn't care whether they got anything out of it. I wasn't interested in visiting the kid-friendly areas, or teaching them anything about Andy Warhol and objects as art. I just wanted them to be well behaved long enough for me to check out the Corita Kent exhibit.

It's easy to slide into a space where you forget about what you want when you are a full-time caregiver for your kids. It can get relegated to every other Tuesday when you go out with your friends, or maybe a few hours a month when you go to yoga. Blogs advise to wake up before your kids do to get your time, and some parents are adamant about the hours they are afforded after a strict early bedtime. And while I agree that time away from your kids is pretty important to maintaining sanity, I have found it very rewarding to prioritize my needs and interests and make them come along with me to something that I want to do. Sometimes it backfires, like the time I took Laurel to my neighbor's concert where he demonstrated his amazing opera singing (opera pieces turned out to be a bit long for her attention span that evening).

But other times, like yesterday, they rise to the occasion. Also, I promised to take them to Chipotle if they were good. We practiced walking through the art gallery without touching stuff. Sitting on the benches to get a good long look. Keeping our voices low to preserve the piece. When we got to the floor with the Corita Kent stuff, my kids gravitated towards an interactive area which was way above their abilities. They parked themselves at this table and asked me to read the prompt, grabbing sketch paper and pencils. And then they got busy and I had a solid half an hour to look at the exhibit, while they wrote poems inspired by ads in magazines. Well, Marko drew "ovals" and Laurel wrote words about what she saw. Poetic in their own way. I was really happy to be able to genuinely thank them for coming along with me and I'm now scheming up all kinds of things we can do this summer.

Corita Kent was an activist/artist/art teacher/Catholic nun/designer/feminist. The exhibit is running at the Warhol until April 19, and I totally recommend checking it out if you are in Pittsburgh.

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