blog > 2014 > October

Lesson of a new parent #3: Love the mystery by Misha Lyuve

Oct 31, 2014

Matisse at MOMA

When at the end of his life Henry Matisse, couldn’t stand up and paint, he dedicated himself to art of scissors and developed series of cutouts, currently presented at the Museum of Modern of Art in New York City. The exhibition, full of child-like optimism, reminded me that while art might have an explanation, it’s not the point – the deliciousness of art experience lies purely in art’s mystery.

In fact, I was reminded of that by my two 11-month old daughters whom I brought with me. They didn’t express any interest in headphone lectures, the neat fonts of wall explanations or even artwork titles. But you should’ve seen them: they were ecstatic; they pointed at the art work with their hands; they stared into the shapes and vocalized their excitement. Had there been an opportunity, they would’ve touched them and even ate them.

This exhibition evoked a very similar emotional reaction in me. But I was consumed with something else – I desperately wanted to understand: what exactly are they seeing? What specifically they are reacting to? What’s happening inside of their cute little heads?

I have to admit that these questions have been following me all along. Many parents find the process of child development fascinating – because it truly is. And we want to know – so we read books and consult specialists; and then we come up with questions, seek explanations and look for answers. And often that is what a good parent should do. But not always.

Some time in the middle of the exhibition I let go of my unanswerable unnecessary questions and embraced my children’s mystery. One of my daughter was sitting in the carrier close to my heart and we were standing right in front of a Matisse’s whimsical masterpiece. And this double mystery felt like heaven.

Lesson #3: Love the mystery – stop asking questions; observe and enjoy instead.

This post is a part of Lessons of a new parent cycle. (If you missed, here is Lesson of a new parent #2 – Reciprocity)

Mattisse

Photography by Laurie Lewis