Another culture day

Francis_bacon_big Culture Day has become an annual outing with me and the kids that we do the day after school ends.  We generally hit up 2 museums and a few exhibits, have a nice lunch and then Fred meets us for another excellent meal at dinner.  We have now been doing this for about 8 years.  The day began when I realized that even though we live in the city, the kids day to day gets bogged down with school, sports, friends, etc., and they really don't get to experience one of the beautiful things about living in NYC.  So, I created culture day.

A few things have come out of the day.  One is that the girls (more than Josh but I assume that has to do with age) have really pursued culture on their own.  They go to exhibits that interest them whenever they can.  Josh even created a culture day for him and his friend this past fall.  That is really rewarding to see each of them have an interest in the arts.

This year, I believe the kids really did culture day to just make me happy.  Maybe it is like this for everyone but for me, it is as if I just woke up and my kids were in a completely different world.  As we raised them to be completely independent, make their own choices, question authority, work hard, etc., and also created an environment to be open, transparent and honest about what is happening in their lives with us.  It really has happened but in some ways I feel as if I have been lost in the dust.  I enjoyed the life where we were like 5 peas in a pod.  Believe me, I have no interest in returning to the days when the kids were younger but I am in the stage where I need to adjust.  Not sure what that adjustment is.  I feel as if I am walking on egg shells.

There are times when I look around and think, wow, I have just spent the last 18 years keeping focused on everyone but myself.  That isn't completely true because I certainly have a lot of stuff happening but perhaps not enough.  A few years ago, a very good friend recommended that I start looking at my day to day and giving each segment a color.  So, put in Green for the family stuff, Red for the kids stuff, Blue for my stuff, etc., and see where the majority of my time is spent.  It was pretty enlightening.  I spent a lot of time on family and bullshit so I started to make changes so that I did not find myself with a huge hole in my life down the line. 

This years culture day, was so different than the past.  Neither good nor bad, just different.  Everyone is what we wanted them to be, their own person.  Maybe at the point where everyone really comes into their own is just a time when everyone figures out how to embrace each other while still maintaining their individuality.  I respect that completely.  Just interesting to experience and watch.  Lonely on one hand but certainly wonderful on the other.

So, in a quick upshot on what we did as I rambled on, we hit up the MOMA and the MET.  I took the kids to see an exhibit at the MOMA I had already seen, Selections from the Judith Rothschild Foundation of Contemporary Drawings.  It was even better the second time around.  An incredible exhibit of drawings of many artists that generally do not use that medium.  We also checked out the Music, Side 2.  Two rooms devoted to the origins of punk rock with music, art and such.  Very cool.  We lunched at the Grilll Room at the Modern which is always good and a nice treat.  Then then headed up to the MET.  The Francis Bacon retrospective is also excellent.  Simply done, big haunting paintings tied to different segments of Bacon's life.  We also checked out the Pictures Generation which captures the art emerging from 1974-1984.  My friend, who owns a gallery, said that this exhibit is really meaningful and it is.  Then we made our way to Yasuda for dinner with Fred.  It poured all day so I got a car service to schlep us around town so I didn't have to hear the complaints.  It was the way to go.

All and all, a nice day, but a confirmation of movement in all our lives. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. Pgotham

    Do you have any relationship to the Gotham family? I’m a Gotham and curious.

  2. ellen

    Everything that you are feeling is about a job well done, but now the company is downsizing and doesn’t need you any longer for as many hours.

    1. Gotham Gal

      That is a genius way to look at it. Many thanks.

  3. CCjudy

    Let them plan the day – each of them selects a different place to go that still fits inside Culture Day J

  4. Yule Heibel

    Lovely post, Joanne. There’s a lot I can relate to, even though I don’t have access to the resources (cultural and otherwise) that complete your life. But when you write, “…I have no interest in returning to the days when the kids were younger but I am in the stage where I need to adjust. Not sure what that adjustment is. I feel as if I am walking on egg shells,” I’m like, “that sounds SOOOO familiar…”There should be a Penelope Trunk-inspired “Brazen Careerist”-type site for “Women-at-this-stage,” imo. Something to answer the old goat’s question, “What do women want?” Sorry, Dr. Freud, maybe the question isn’t what do we want, but what do we need.You raise kids, and chances are you’re pretty much orienting yourself to what you need to get the job done – to *their* needs. Then, when they grow up, the job is (as per ellen’s comment) “downsized,” so now what do *you* need?Aside from all the obvious things (a drink, money, some new jeans that fit really well, a vacation, maybe another drink, and so on and so forth), what I need more than anything is the feeling of doors opening – not closing.We (engaged mothers) have opened doors for our kids – mental doors, social doors, educational doors – and now they’re walking out the actual door into their own lives. As that door closes behind them, I’m asking myself where my open door is now.On another note, re. Culture Day: did you realize this qualifies as bona-fide homeschooling? ;-)And ps: congratulations on the anniversary!

  5. Beth

    My parents started taking us to museums when my siblings and I were young, and although I may not have appreciated their “culture” days at the time, I definitely do as an “adult” and when they come to town now, museum hopping is a main activity for us. On that note, I recommend the Frank Loyd Wright exhibit at the Guggenheim, and the felt exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Been meaning to get to the Guggenheim. Good to hear the exhibit is worth it.joanne [email protected]