I was alone at my museum.
Not exactly alone, but my family wasn’t physically with me at the moment. In fact, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis was packed, as it should be, because it is an amazing place to take kids.
I had an opportunity to go see the dinosaurs by myself if I wanted. Or the Star Trek exhibit. Or whatever I wanted to do.
Instead, I found myself wandering. I stumbled into the Pop Culture exhibit and got lost in the comic books. That’s when I heard it.
I turned my head. It wasn’t my kid, but a flood of memories swept before my eyes.
I decided to walk the ramp to see the top of the Chihuly “Fireworks of Glass Tower and Ceiling” which has always grabbed my eye since the first day I visited. This is where I saw the memories of my family come to life.
There was a dad running a stroller up the ramp (no small feat) making car noises just like I used to do. I saw another dad carrying a kid who was nodding off to sleep. I saw a small family coordinating (negotiating) where to go next.
To be honest, I’m not sure if the process made me happy or sad. I actually sat down and just soaked it all in. Strollers, diaper bags, and naps are no longer a part of my repertoire.
And while being in a different stage offers its own challenges, it also offers some new and very cool discoveries.
Just like the museum, parenthood seems to be full of many levels. There are fun discoveries on each level. Challenges too.
Right before I left, a younger dad asked me to take a picture of his family. Probably their first time together at the museum. The kid in the stroller was crying when I took the photo. Even that made me smile because I had been there too. Neither parent seemed fazed or worried.
As I handed the camera back to him, I thanked him for letting me take it. It actually did make my day.
I feel pretty blessed to have a museum that grows with families. A playground for people to learn and develop all the skills. And an amazing ramp on which you can run a stroller.
A version of this first appeared on Tales from the Poop Deck. Child at staircase photo by Mikito Tateisi on Unsplash.
What a lovely piece.
And what a great museum!
Speaking of “great museums,” make sure you get to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore to take in and savor their fabulous exhibition on parenting — up until 9/1.
It’s worth the trip and it’s within walking distance of a fabulous science museum and aquarium in Baltimore’s inner harbor.