Wednesday, July 12
Four of us (minus the camp-going son) recently visited the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington D.C. At first we were reluctant to bring Henry along, museums are often a bore or else a sensory overload for him, making it torturous for us. So the plan was for me to stay poolside with him, while Paul and H did the museum visit. But then we realized the Folk Life Festival was happening on the Mall, right outside the museum and we decided we would all go into the city and I could wander the food booths and live music venues with Henry . (Live music is one of Henry's favorite things on earth.) Constant adaptation and flexibility is one lesson we are continually having drummed into us by our zen master, Henry!
However, even our modifed plan was modified when we pulled up in front of the museum, planning to split up, and Henry charged towards the museum entrance, giggling merrily. "OK", we said to each other, a little grimly, "We'll try it." And, actually, it went beautifully! The museum has changed dramatically since I was there as a kid, and all for the better. Henry loved wandering through the place and looking at the attractive displays. He seemed delighted with everything, and his enthusiasm was infectous. He was as interested in the way the exhibits were lit as he was in the exhibits, often staring up, transfixed by the constellations of lights overhead. And when you stop and look, they ARE very interesting, and obviously a lot of thought and design expertise has gone into this aspect of a show, and it is something I never think about otherwise. We did get some funny looks from people wondering why Henry was smiling delightedly at the ceiling but I noticed that sometimes these folks would glance up too, and then they'd say "Well, would you look at that!"