Wednesday, January 13, 2010

mother and child

My mother would visit the National Gallery of Art on every trip to Washington, DC. It was a favorite place. She came to love the Impressionists in her middle age (after a fascination with Surrealists, such as Dali and Magritte, when I was young). Especially Monet. I remember her office at the University of Technology Sydney plastered to the ceiling with Monet posters. Some she bought at the National Gallery.

Iz and I have many just-us outings there. We have attempted joint copies of Monet’s Rouen Cathedral and Japanese Footbridge paintings with markers on sketchbook paper. We go underground to the cafĂ©, walk along the moving walkway through the light tunnel, then sit at a table near the fountain for a snack.

When there, I think of my mother, and I enjoy being Iz’s mother.

Yesterday, Iz’s kindergarten class had a field trip to the National Gallery. His teachers asked for parent volunteers; I couldn’t say no to that trip. The plan: to see the French Painting of the 19th Century exhibit. My mother's on-and-off favorite painting, Woman with Parasol, which pictures a mother and child, is included.

Iz grabs my hand the moment he gets off the bus, sometimes pulling me, sometimes melting into me. He doesn’t let go. I feel as if he is barely paying attention – focused only on me.

The class of twenty sits on the carpet, looking up at the woman with her parasol and her child on a windy day; I, of course, think of my mother and am melancholy (in that oddly satisfying way); and Iz insists in sitting in my lap, his face turned to me, his eyes closed.

Mother and child motif repeated in a moment.

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