I know that occasionally I wear it like a badge of pride, my lack of “me time”. I devote myself to my children—nearly every moment of my life—and I am proud to do so. It’s a defense mechanism, though. Although I love spending time with my children, I do occasionally wish for an afternoon to myself. Not because my children are annoying or difficult, but because when they are present, I am automatically bumped to the bottom of my priority list. I don’t begrudge them their spots at the top of my list; I believe that is where they belong. It’s just that sometimes, it’s nice to have my name up there too.
While I was in New York earlier this month, I spent a whole afternoon alone. I think all the kids (and Matt obviously) would have loved that day–riding on the subway, walking the city, going to the Met. But I appreciated it so much more because it was all mine. Not once did I have to remind anyone not to get to close to the edge of the subway platform, or to hold on when the train started moving, or not to put their hands in their mouths after touching everything in the subway they could. I just worried about me.
It was re-energizing in a way I did not expect. Not just the time alone, which was much-needed, but spending it walking the city and seeing new things.
I miss the city a lot. Not New York City, precisely — I’ve never lived there and it’s not MY city –but it is A city. And I miss being in A city. (Ideally, the city I would spend my days in would be Boston, but I’d take NYC or DC in a pinch.) Just walking around, even on a rainy day like the one I spent in NYC, made me feel happy and awake and alive. I think I really am a city girl at heart.
I’d never been to the Met before, and was really excited to spend an afternoon there seeing what I wanted to see, without having to consider other opinions or desires. I thought I wanted to see the European paintings exhibit. It turned out that I was wrong.
About five minutes into the exhibit, I realized that although the paintings were lovely and amazing, I was bored. I don’t know enough about art or artists or techniques to really appreciate what I was looking at. I was disappointed in myself. So uncultured.
And then I walked out to a balcony in the museum and looked over the railing and this is what I saw:
THAT was the part of the museum I loved. I spent probably two hours wandering that exhibit. It was amazing.
It was a rainy, grey day in the city, but the weather did not matter. It was food for my soul.