In recent years we’ve experienced a new “museum” from the Color Factory, to Sloomoo, to Happy Go Lucky and now the Museum of Ice Cream, these museums and exhibits offer an experience for the new generation. While each has their own distinct concept and execution each foster “IRL interaction and URL connections.” Hands-on, multi-sensorial, picture-worthy and with minimal reading these have become the new favorite, and norm, for museum experiences for my kids.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Happiness is in the heart of the feeler.
Memories are written and recalled as uniquely as we each are.
I take them to the city to see the sights, to hear and smell and feel the difference in the air.
A city full of passion and confusion, chaos and magic, overstimulation and isolation, fears and dreams.
My love affair cannot be passed down, only shared.
I see them recall their last time, they note the difference, they wonder at the newness.
Memories are being written; some with magic in the moment and some will await the magic in a future recollection.
There is nothing more poetic, more spontaneous and more memorable than a first. They create an indelible mark on our very fabric. And there is nothing more prescient about a first than their inability to be replicated. And there’s the sting.
Until you have a child…
I wrote this 7 years ago for Lucas’ 7th birthday. Now he’s 14 and I’m excited for him to experience his first Homecoming as I am flooded with memories of my own. The dressing up, the dinner out, the dancing, the independence and the friends. This is his first, not mine, and these are his memories to make. But boy is it fun going along for the ride!
The other night Oliver asked me if he could buy lunch the next day. He was excited about the pizza and the chilled sliced peaches. My heart warmed and I broke out in laughter; the details of the chilled and the sliced included.
This was our first week back to school. Back in person, in new schools for Lucas and Penny. After so much time of being disconnected, separated, idle and lonely it was joyous to wake them up, dress them up, pack them up and walk them out of the house to see friends and neighbors emerge to a new day. They are connecting with old friends while trying to make new, figuring out which way to walk and which way to look while I obsess over who might be mean and if a year practically lost academically will be recoverable.
Lucas comes home and complains of the age of the school and the lack of windows. He’s not quite vibing yet as he’s adjusting to the new student body that will be his world for the next four years. Penny is excited on certain days when she sees her closest friends and dreads the other days because she has Math. And Oliver is simply happy and content and easily reports the news of the day, no social anxieties plaguing his day.
I am excited and apprehensive of the next four years that await Lucas. I know I, as a parent, need to step up my game and learn all the things that matter to colleges while ensuring he’s well adjusted, well rounded and well liked. I am anxious for Penny because she is my daughter and navigating friendships and herself in these next two years is probably the most transformative and fraught. And I am comforted by Oliver. Before angst and moodiness, before he cares about his outfit, before he gets too big to pick up, before I am no longer his center. He simply looks forward to tomorrow and his chilled sliced peaches.
How do you carry your heart of gold? Are there some mornings where its sheer weight makes it hard to rise? Does it push and pull other organs, throwing its weight around? Does it flow blood the same, push beats the same, feel love the same?
How do you bear a heart of gold? Does each slight cut deeper, each hurt sting sharper? When you give so openly what do you have left for yourself?
How do you feel with your heart of gold? Does each hug feel warmer? Do the kind words, acts of grace, thoughtful gestures fill you up fuller? Do you carry love deeper?
I may not know how it feels for you but I know how it feels for us.
I color you pink, like our cheeks after we’ve been running, jumping, laughing
I color you blue, like the sunny skies that seem to surround us whenever we’re together, what I see in your eyes
I color you green, like the grass in Central Park, in our backyards, in the parks we’ve played
I color you orange, orange you glad I didn’t say banana?
I color you turquoise and purple and silver and glitter, like the unicorns and princess dresses and slime we’ve loved over the years
I color you with my big, broad brush of friendship
Layer upon layer, year after year our mural is a reckless, silly, beautiful mess
You and I the only ones knowing the brick that lies beneath
Our first born, bearer of our many firsts, now our first teenager. Too cool for school, beyond his years, no. His height might confuse many but he’s still just a silly kid inside.
This was the moment I held you for the first time. After hours of labor, some small panics and too many doctors you were measured, cleaned and swaddled and placed into my arms. You were crying so I sang “Dream A Little Dream of Me”, a song I had been singing to you in utero. You instantly calmed down and tried to open your eyes to see me. This was the moment.