Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Potpourri: Scenes from a Museum Family Fun Day, Described in Rolling Stones Song Titles

On today's agenda:  "Family Fun Day" at the Kimbell Museum.  Flashing back to two years ago, watching my youngest child duplicate an Impressionist masterpiece at the paint station.

"Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind," I guess.

At first he wants to "Paint It, Black." But, after getting a big daub of black paint on his brush, he changes his mind, dips the brush into another paint pot and - suddenly - "Blue Turns to Gray." The too-tightly-wound docent scowls and makes a passive aggressive comment about my child's use of colors - and misuse of communal art supplies.

Hey, lady - he's four. Have a little "Sympathy for the Devil." At least he's painting ON the paper. The little girl next to him is painting on HERSELF - one more stripe of color, and "She's a Rainbow."

Older brother announces that he needs to go the restroom. There are restrooms in both back corners of the auditorium in which the festival is being held. I squint at the door of each, trying to determine which one is the ladies' room, while simultaneously attempting to extricate little brother from the painting table. Little brother is NOT with the "escort big brother to the restroom" plan. "Wild Horses" couldn't separate the kid from his art project. While I am negotiating with the small terrorist, big brother takes off into the crowd in a "Jumpin' Jack Flash." "Time Waits for No One" - and, evidently, neither does my son's bladder.

He disapparates, like a character in a Harry Potter book.  I have no idea which way he went.  And I am well on my way to my "19th Nervous Breakdown" of the afternoon.

Has "Anybody Seen My Baby?" I ask every stranger I pass. By process of elimination, I determine that he is - probably - in the restroom on the left. Which is the men's room. Which means I can't go in. So I try to get his attention as best I can. By first rapping, and then pounding, on the exterior door, and shouting his name frantically and repeatedly. I know that it probably is "Just My Imagination," but I can't shake the suspicion that the men's room is lousy with pedophiles, so if nothing else I feel that the racket that I am creating puts them on notice that they should be minding their P's and Q's . . . and other things that should be keep FAR away from my child.

A totally "Respectable," "Salt of the Earth"-looking gentleman who probably wouldn't harm a fly, but who I nevertheless profile as a potential child molester, emerges from the restroom, catching me in mid-knock, and looks at me oddly. I have the decency to at least be somewhat chagrined, and I mutter that I'm "Waiting on a Friend" - and then I resume my pounding.

Was "exiting-potential-pedophile" the last non-Connor-person in there?  Because if I knew "This Place Is Empty," I would totally go inside.

May still go inside, if my child doesn't surface soon.

Finally, he emerges, unruffled, from the imaginary-pedophile-infested restroom. "'Can't You Hear Me Knocking?'" I ask him. "I was 'Worried About You.' How long does it take you to pee, anyway?"

"I wasn't peeing, Mom."

Ah - "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo." Got it.

In the meantime, little brother is pitching a wall-eyed fit because he had to leave his painting project unfinished. Hey, kid - "You Can't Always Get What You Want." We're moving on to the collage table -
"Take It or Leave It." Mom's nerves are too "Torn and Frayed" to deal with scowling paint table docent. Collage table docent seems nicer.

Big brother asks if HE can return to the paint table, solo. No way, Jose - after your little escape routine, I'm keeping you firmly "Under My Thumb."

Things at the collage table go fine for a few minutes - until collage table docent rotates off-shift, to be replaced with . . . the painting table docent with the "Heart of Stone." "Oh, No, Not You Again." She's probably thinking the same thing about my kid.

A friend of mine appears stage left, twins in tow, providing a nice "Emotional Rescue" from having to deal with mean docent woman. Friend and I chat for awhile. She seems amazingly unruffled by the whole "family fun day" experience. But then again, she has two stroller-bound children, and a nanny in tow. I would be calmer if I had a "Mother's Little Helper," because then I could run a man-on-man defense instead of a zone.

Mercifully, "Time Is on My Side." 4 pm - the stated ending time for Family Fun Day - arrives.  "It's All Over," and we're "Goin' Home." I push the kids out the door, feeling like a "Beast of Burden" as I attempt to juggle my purse, the kids' various take-alongs, plus Family Fun Day takeaways, some of which are still wet with paint and/or glue.  I can feel one "Slipping Away" and struggle to get a grip on it while not letting go of the little one's hand.

While arranging children and damp art projects inside the car, I tell myself that this is "The Last Time" that we attend a free community festival of any sort. But the kids love them so darned much. And "Love is Strong" in bringing out the "Saint of Me." and motivating me to do things against my own self-interest. It's a "Rock and a Hard Place" situation, inspiring "Mixed Emotions," but time and time again I find myself doing something against my own selfish self-interest, because it will benefit one (or both) of my kids. And because "I Just Want to See His Face" smiling and "Happy." Which, I guess, is a benefit to me. So maybe our interests are more aligned than I think.

It's a short drive back to the house. Spouse collects the kids at the door and ushers them in the opposite direction of where I'm heading.  For the next half hour or so, "I'm Free." I contemplate "Walking the Dog," but "Ruby Tuesday" isn't interested in physical fitness at the present moment and jumps up on the couch instead. I plop down next to her and, with the dog's head on my knee, finally catch up on "Yesterday's Papers" . . . .

(The dog's name really is Ruby Tuesday. And I don't know why I have become obsessed with weaving song titles into blog posts. A creative exercise, I guess. Something to keep the forty year-old mind nimble.  I did change the facts a bit. Dad was with us that day, but - for reasons that I no longer remember - he was not in the picture when Connor decided to make a mad dash to the restroom. And Parker's recreation of Monet's bridge utilized pastels, not paint, but the mess was very real - as was the scowling docent. Who took particular umbrage at Parker's insistence on adding a crocodile under the bridge, skulking between the lilies. Personally, I thought it was an inspired addition.  Wonder what whimsy he'll inject into today's art projects.)

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