Motherhood in Open Air

On a hot humid summer day in Washington I crossed the threshold of The National Gallery of Art in Washington to be welcomed by the echo of air-conditioned footsteps and a once in a lifetime collection of Impressionist paintings. As a young former ballet dancer I entered the museum focused on soaking up the dizzied drama of opera houses, dancers and nineteenth century Parisian life.

Sometimes we delve into an experience seeking one thing and leave with something unexpected. We shake the rose bush and get water lilies instead. I left the museum that day moved not by the drama of floodlit Parisian nights but by the quiet tender moments of Mary Cassatt, Camille Pissarro and Berthe Morisot’s works of art. Paintings in brilliant colors that shed light on domestic life, motherhood, childhood and ‘common’ moments. Painters and parents who raised the everyday in open air and placed them in the pantheon of high art.

Mary, Camille and Berthe’s Impressionist paintings were met with thunderous disapproval by the celebrated art critics of their day and age. They ignored the critics and kept painting with focused eyes and skilled minds. A lesson of life and of motherhood if ever there was one. Maybe a lesson to keep in mind if knee deep in life with young children.

We live in a day and age that applauds ‘gold star moments’ obvious enough for the insatiable appetite of our feeds. Yet tender moments, grafted to hard earned days and sleepless nights, are the moments to be captured and celebrated. Moments acknowledged by our consideration and time.

The world thunders for more and we quietly close the door with an independence of mind. Carrying on with the very hard work of creating the lives and moments worthy of our time and in turn painting something beautiful and true on life’s canvas. Happy Tuesday from our home to yours.

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