The other night I found myself leaving an art exhibit at Northwestern University and on my way to the Ed Paschke Art Center in Chicago. My son needed to visit art galleries for a school assignment. Of course the assignment was for over a period of weeks, but leave it to him to hold off until the last day. Not funny.
We mapped out the best route, picked up coffee, and left with open minds and a, "we can do this," attitude. It was later when we arrived at Northwestern. I wasn't expecting much, but there in the middle of this small student gallery, was an extraordinary exhibit. Even better was turning to see the look on my son's face. He was clearly thrilled. When we stepped outside, he pointed out the beautiful view of Lake Michigan. He told me to look at the architecture of the buildings on the campus. I've been there. I've seen it. I realized I had taken for granted how beautiful our city is.
We drove to the Ed Paschke art center. I smiled when I told him to go on ahead. I would park the car. I knew when he stepped inside it would be the first time he would ever have experienced true modern art in such a small setting. I had never been to the gallery, though I've always been intrigued by this late Chicago artist. I loved it. He loved it. They moved Paschke's original art studio and recreated it at the gallery, down to his odd notes and phone numbers tacked to a door.
There was one last stop and that was back in our own small suburb. We didn't care if the gallery was closed. It couldn't come close to what we saw. Yet, we walked in and the walls in this gallery were covered in unique graffiti art. We never knew this gallery was even here.
I thanked my son for this day. Had we not gone exploring, I would have been perfectly content staying home. I had no idea there was so much to see that I had not seen. If I was traveling to another city, I would have managed to see all the sites, but here at home, not so much.
After the holidays, we went to visit my daughter who lives in an older section of the city. There's a traditional German restaurant that's always been popular. Our daughter walked in and said, "god, no. Follow me." A new restaurant opened down the block. We had the best burgers ever.
I'm getting older. I can feel it. I didn't think this would happen. Me being complacent. Waiting in line at an old German restaurant because I had been there before. Not looking for the new place in town. Settling in at night instead of visiting a gallery. I didn't realize it until I watched my son react to everything around him. I had an inkling when my daughter dragged me out of that old restaurant! Time to snap out of it. I'm grateful that I still have the freedom to explore.