A Magazine about the Hudson Valley’s local economy, published by Hudson Valley Current.

Daddy Debrief: Field Trip

By David DeWitt

Finn and I are roadies right now. Erin is performing with the Omaha Symphony in their annual Christmas show and we’ve come along for the ride.

It’s kind of surreal sharing this experience with Finn. The last time Erin and I spent more than a few weeks in a hotel we were touring together. Long before Finn was a thought.

As we were packing for the trip it felt somewhat routine figuring out what to take so we could maintain a semblance of home on the road.

Finn filled his small suitcase with a careful selection of toys, Legos and art supplies.

Homeschooling has made things a little less complicated to some degree.
And there are plenty of “field trip” opportunities.

I just have to keep reminding myself that we are not on vacation.

Or are we?

Before we left, Erin and I scoped out the museums.

Our halfway point to Omaha was Cincinnati, where Erin is from. The timing worked out so we were there for Thanksgiving with her family and Finn could have some quality time with his cousins.

Erin had always been fond of the Cincinnati Art museum and had mentioned one of her favorite paintings was Van Gogh’s Undergrowth with Two Figures, on display there.

There never seems to be enough time to fully appreciate everything in a museum.
This is especially true when you’re with a seven year-old who wants to zip from one room to the next.

Eventually we found the painting and Finn ran right up to it.

Really close to it.

“Look Daddoo!” he said. “To make it look like that he had to paint it real fast like this!”

Then he pretended to paint furiously, with his hand about an inch from the canvas.

“Stop!” I said in a mini panic. “You can’t get that close to the painting!”

“Why?” He asked, surprised.

“You might touch it accidentally and damage it,” I said.

“No I won’t, the paint’s very thick. Look,” he pointed again with his finger perilously close to the canvas.

“Step back!” I whispered intensely, moving him back with my hand and expecting to hear an alarm go off any second.

It’s not that he hasn’t been to museums. But it has been a while. And we’ve most recently been to children’s museums where you can touch everything.

Still, there was a small part of me that expected him to react with a little more reverence and awe.

I always kind of get butterflies when I see a famous painting. Thinking of the energy it took to create it and the number of people who had to believe in it enough for it to be hanging here on this wall 120 years later.

For a moment I was able to get him to step back and just look at it from a comfortable distance.

“The trees are purple. Why are they purple?” he said.

Years from now, after a dozen or more museum visits, I’m sure he will feel the awe. But this time it was pure curiosity and enthusiasm.

And for now I’ll take that as marks of a successful field trip.