Monday, July 07, 2008

An Afternoon to Remember

Yesterday we had big plans to go to the hot springs pool and spend the day with a picnic lunch before attending the Night Vision concerts in the evening. The boys were very excited and everyone pitched in to pack our lunch and swim suits, and we climbed in the car to take off. As we drove south through town Dominick and I both looked at one another and silently realized we may not be able to go as a storm was very obviously moving in quickly. As we stopped for gas I phoned the pool and found it had already been closed due to lighting sightings, so I had to relay the bad news to the kids who...to give them credit...were disappointed but understood and there wasn't much complaining.

The conversation turned to what we should do with our afternoon, which was quickly becoming quite overcast and windy. It was too early for lunch, and we didn't want to go home and hang out as we were all primed to be out doing something together. As we were driving slowly back through town, I suggested we stop on Main Street (Yes, we really do have a Main Street which is our main thoroughfare) and walk up and down it checking out the little shops which we never stop to do. The boys halfheartedly agreed and so we piled out and started at a new place, a corner art gallery housed in a late 1800's building that has been renovated. We meandered through, slowly looking at the variety of wonderful art created by artists right here in Montrose and nearby. To say we were surprised at the degree of talent right here in our own town is an understatement. We are not "artsy fartsy" people, not at all cultured and are downright "hicks" essentially. But we all really enjoyed looking at the art done in various mediums and got into it by asking the boys which piece by each artist they enjoyed the most. We surprised ourselves by remaining in there longer than we expected, really enjoying it! Matthew was drawn to the photography displayed, as was Josh. Kenny really was fascinated by the pencil drawings of birds in wildlife scenes. We then sat down and thumbed through a book about photographing nudes as an art form, and I was pleasantly surprised once again to have all three boys interested in it without the anticipated giggles and embarrassment. There was nothing overly graphic in it, but they seemed to understand that the human form is beautiful in and of itself and pointed to a couple of particularly beautiful photos.

We left and wandered through a couple of gift shops before stumbling into a used book store. Is there any scent that mimics the smell of a store chock full of used paperbacks? Ummm...it is one of a kind, and brings to mind exactly the kind of day we were having...a rainy, lazy day where you can curl up with a good book for hours. I found a book which was a sign of what we should present at our church retreat, and Matthew of course picked out an old book about the battle of Gettysburg while Kenny selected a Disney book that he and Josh will share. I also found what looked to be a very interesting selection about Faith and Rock and Roll music, we'll see if the interest level matches the title once I read it.

It then started raining very hard so we scrambled back into the van and drove down a couple of blocks where we passed an art center we had never been in where they teach all kinds of classes from glass work to drawing to paint your own ceramics. You can do the painting of ceramics anytime, and we surprised the boys as we went in and let them pick out a small item to paint...then Dominick and I each said "What the heck!" and decided to paint something ourselves. So there we are in the almost empty studio painting our little cars (Matt and Josh), mice (Kenny), number tiles for the house (Dominick) and I was struggling to find something to paint. I finally settled on a fairly small heart shaped plate. I didn't know what to do with it, and the wonderfully gifted woman who runs the center offered suggestions and had me look around for ideas. She encouraged me to let go of worrying about it to be perfect and just paint something without regard for all of that. I decided I was going to make a plate for the kids. I painted it with rainbow stripes that sort of blended into one another (my mom won't be surprised at my decision to paint it rainbow style, a throwback to my youth and still my favorite thing of all time). It looks cheesy, I'll admit it. But then I wanted to add some writing on it but anyone who has ever seen my handwriting would cringe at the thought of that, so the woman kindly offered to do it for me. I had her write each of the kids names around the outside of the plate, including our hoped for 2 new additions, and in the middle I had her write "Love in any language". It looked awesome!! Suddenly I felt like I had made something kind of cool, sort of like a kid does when they want to show off their latest masterpiece from school. Even she loved it and said that when it is fired it will turn out terrific and was very unique. I hope it looks good once it is done as I plan to hang it in my kitchen if it does. The boys wanted our names on it as well, but there wasn't really room as it was really kind of small.

It was such a nice quiet time together, doing something we would ordinarily never do or would have the boys do but not ourselves. All 5 of us there, heads bent over our carefully crafted pieces, intent and focused on what we were each doing with hushed conversation between us. It is sad when one thinks about it, how we as adults are unable to do so many things with the abandon and lack of fear of judgment that kids approach things with. How much of ourselves are we stifling and how much joy do we miss out on simply because we are worried about looking stupid? Kids don't care, they just jump right in and are happy if their car has yellow wheels with paint slopped over the sides or if their colors don't match. They are so free in that sense, and it is something I could have a little piece of back from my own childhood.

We then went home to have our picnic lunch there as everything around was then soaked after quite a rainfall even though the rain had stopped already.

Our family doesn't often do things like this, and we all agreed it was a great way to spend the afternoon, even if the pool would have been first choice. We joked about how we were going exploring in our own little town, which with the size of it is quite funny to think of "exploring" but there are often things we drive past every day without stopping to take a closer look. Our Saturday afternoon adventure served as a reminder that stopping to see the little things can be as much fun as hitting only the bigger things.

And I'll always remember Joshie with his hand in mine, a delighted smile on his face as looking up at me he said "Mommy, I just love the smell of rain!".

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