Second Chances

Date night always requires a bit of logistical work around here. Both of us have to put it on our calendars, then we arrange babysitting and only then do we get to the question of what we intend to do.

Anyway, Michael and I had planned a fairly creative date night for last Friday. We’ve recently joined the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We took our kids to the Rembrandt exhibit on the Faces of Jesus. It was interesting, and our kids looked at some at the paintings (and Jasper listened to the audio guide) but quiet art galleries full of contemplative people reading signs aren’t really a great place to linger with a 4-year-old and an almost 2-year-old. So we intended to go back on Friday night when the museum stays open late, and enjoy some adult time looking at the galleries, grabbing a drink, etc.

Michael was flying back from Geneva, but he was supposed to land at JFK at 3. He’d take the train from NYC to Philly, I’d pick him up at the train station around 6 and we’d go. Of course, things went wrong with this plan. His plane was delayed. He made a later train, but then it basically started hailing when I was supposed to go get him, which made me a little worried about driving on the highway. But then, as I was in the driveway getting ready to go, I got a call. My husband: “Don’t rush.”

Me: “Why?”

Him, something to the effect of “What’s the biggest screw-up you can imagine?”

Me: “Did you get on the wrong train?” Indeed. He’d gotten on the Amtrak going north instead of the one going south, and hadn’t noticed until the conductor announced they were in Stamford, CT. I guess one can blame jet-lag. And a clueless conductor (since Amtrak employs people to make sure you don’t get on the wrong train with the wrong ticket). Regardless, date night was not happening, and he took a taxi back from the station, getting home around 10PM.

So I was kind of bummed about this. The next night, we were going to be in Maryland, attending the wedding of an old roommate. The kids stayed with their cousins. I hadn’t thought too much about where the wedding was. It was in the Walters Art Museum, but I wasn’t sure what part of the space. At other times, we might have just stuck by the reception. But instead, having been expecting to see lots of art the night before, we decided to wander around the exhibits. I think we were just about the only guests to do so. It was a bit of a mishmash, but we did get to see a lovely Raphael piece, Madonna of the Candelabra. Raphael (and his studio) seem to have captured the essence of mother and child better than most other painters, with Jesus often grabbing his mother’s hair, or nuzzling into her neck. Like a real baby would.

In other words, we still got our date night wandering around a gallery. When life is busy, you have to plan your leisure time for it to have a good chance of happening. But you also have to be open to seizing moments when they come. Between these two mindsets, it is possible to make time for many beautiful things.

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