Blue Star Voices: Moms can visit museums too!
Jennifer January captured this happy group at the Blue Star Museums press announcement right before everyone headed off to tour the different Balboa Park museums.
My friend Jenny invited me to attend the kickoff for Blue Star Museums. I was excited to hear what it would be like, and how it would affect our summer. Being a mother of two young children with a deployed husband, I knew the summer would be long. My daughter was at school, but I packed up my three year old with lots of snacks and things to keep him busy. Thank goodness my husband got me a jog stroller that he can’t get out of! Brayden is a bit of a scientific-ninja. He's curious about how things work and has to touch everything. That's paired with his ability to be quick, quiet, and slip away undetected! The car is packed, off we go . . .
We arrived at Balboa park early, and quickly found parking which is rare---so we weren’t doing our usual rush to get somewhere. I enjoyed a leisurely stroll past the Organ Pavilion and made it to the San Diego Museum of Art to find kids decked out in Blue Star Families shirts, military families from different services, and many reps from various press agencies. I quickly found my friend Jenny and asked her what we should do. She wanted us in the audience, so I found my spot (armed with a portable DVD player and headphones for Brayden). Everyone was excited, talking about the opportunity before them, thinking how they will arrange their summers to see as many museums as possible---which ones will be on the list, and which ones their children will be excited about. I saw other friends from Miramar and we stood in the audience and chatted while we waited for the unveiling. One great thing about living with the military---you learn how to quickly make friends and find things to talk about.
The Mayor appeared and the press junket was about to begin. He made some kind remarks about how Blue Star Families has worked with more than 600 museums nationwide to allow military families free admission. Very exciting!! (As of today, more than 750 museums are participating!) A member of the NEA spoke next about how art exposure at a young age really makes a difference in the lives of those children in college and in their professional careers. I was excited that we could give our children the opportunity to further their brain power and open their eyes to the world just by walking the halls of museums that are practically in my back yard.
Then I heard it…a little, but growing louder with every shush I uttered, "MOMMY, I’ve got to go Potty!” It was loud enough for the news cameras beside me to hear---hopefully it wasn't broadcast! Reluctantly, I pulled out of the crowd, panicking to find an open spot to get my long stroller through so Brayden wouldn’t be floating us away. After we returned from a quick intermission, the junket was over and the crowd was moving inside for a tour of the Art Museum. Since we got up there late I waited for the next tour. While we waited, I was interviewed by a reporter from KPBS. I have to say that even though I rehearsed something (Jenny told me we had a good chance of being interviewed) in the car on the way down, I was still pretty nervous. Come to find out the next day that my husband, who was hundreds of miles away on a ship, found out I was on the radio before I knew (someone heard it and passed it on).
We decided to go into the sculpture garden. I released Brayden from his stroller and, of course, he wanted to touch everything! We entered the garden through a beautiful courtyard that had a little pool where baby ducks were swimming with their mom. Brayden loved this. Then we entered the field to see giant sculptures. He asked what each one was and was quite impressed with the pieces. After our jaunt through the garden, we ate a nice lunch in the courtyard while a quintet played in the background. It was a beautiful day in such a gorgeous venue. It is so nice to see the community and Blue Star Families reaching out to us, so we can have an exciting summer. After Vacation Bible School next week, we will be making a trip back to Balboa to the art museum for a day of culture.