A lot can happen in seven years. That’s what I try to tell Sophie every time she struggles to keep up with her older sister. My ambitious eight-year-old wants to be just like Savanna.
Savanna, meanwhile, is 15-going-on-18. She can’t wait to graduate and head to college where the only class she has to take (so she thinks) is art. Alec, my husband, introduced Savanna to art at a young age, and ever since then she’s had a knack for it. Alec and I decided that before she flies the coop, we owed it to both girls to facilitate more bonding time. That’s why the four of us took a weekend trip to Frisco. The city’s arts and culture scene had been on our radar for some time now. Sophie was finally old enough to appreciate it, and Savanna was still young enough to be seen in public with her parents and little sister.
Our first stop in Frisco was an office park and art museum hybrid. The Texas Sculpture Garden is four landscaped acres containing the country’s largest privately-owned collection of sculptures made available to the public for free. Tech-savvy Savanna had downloaded Otocast, the garden’s free audio art walking tour, on her phone within minutes of arriving. Then, it took all of two seconds for always-curious Sophie to start asking questions.
To Sophie and me, Dolphin Rhythm was a steel structure resembling a giant bunch of bananas. To Savanna and Alec, it was a leaping pod of dolphins. Savanna explained to Sophie that abstract art requires interpretation. When Sophie said she still just saw bananas, Savanna rolled her eyes and laughed.
Maternal Caress, on the other hand, instantly hit home for me. It was clearly a mother holding her child. I thought back to when I first had Savanna and was so afraid I was doing motherhood wrong. That seemed like a lifetime ago. Now, just a few yards away I was watching my eldest baby girl who was transfixed by the sight of another teenager posing for photos with the La Mujer Roja installation. The Texas Sculpture Garden seemed like the ideal setting for Savanna’s own senior pictures—just a few short years away.
Our first night in Frisco ended at a ballpark. Dr Pepper Ballpark was a baseball’s throw from the Texas Sculpture Garden. I’d read that in addition to being home to a beloved minor league team, it was home to some of the City of Frisco’s Public Art collection.
The first piece we saw was at the entrance. It was a bronze sculpture of a baseball pitcher—mid-pitch, called The Pitch. Created by Gail Folwell, we learned it was selected for the 2010 National Art Museum of Sports art competition and exhibition. Sophie slowly walked all around the statue’s pedestal, ending by posing the same way. After we walked over to the Dr Pepper Arena nearby, Savanna spent more time explaining how she thought another piece, The Light Wave, worked. The dynamic light sculpture was suspended from the arena’s beams. “It’s like a dancing stained glass mobile,” she observed, mesmerized and oblivious to the popcorn-toting crowds of fans surrounding us. As soon as Savanna began to move on in search of the next piece, Sophie stood exactly where her sister had stood and looked up, attempting to get the same perspective. Sister see, sister do.
The next morning, our foray into downtown Frisco began at the National Videogame Museum located in the Frisco Discovery Center. With several playable vintage video games from an era I thought I’d never see again, it was as interactive for the girls as it was nostalgic for Alec and me. “Nintendo was pretty much a religion in our house,” he said. Alec had grown up with three brothers so the museum’s model of a 1980s-living room and bedroom literally hit home for him. “This is painfully slow; how did you survive on this?” Savanna asked when experimenting with the museum’s dial-up internet demo. For once my tech-savvy teenager was stumped when it came to computers. I could tell she liked the museum because it was challenging her in the same way a blank canvas did.
“Can we come back and see a ballet here?” Sophie asked as we were leaving the Frisco Discovery Center. She’d noticed a metal ballerina sculpture, another piece of the City of Frisco Public Art program. Art, and culture, seemed to be everywhere here. The Frisco Discovery Center also housed the Black Box Theatre and the Sci-Tech Discovery Center, which was included on the Frisco Museum Pass we’d purchased to get into the National Videogame Museum.
“I’ll check the box office schedule,” I told Sophie. “But first, let’s get some fresh air and walk to the Museum of the American Railroad.” The museum, which requires pre-scheduled tours, was also included on our Frisco Museum Pass.
As we strolled through the neighboring Frisco Heritage Center, we passed a mischievous fox cast in bronze, a massive outdoor mural of Frisco and several paintings and photographs depicting the city’s storied and colorful past.
Outside the Frisco Heritage Center, Savanna and Sophie spotted a scene from their own past. The Sisters were two bronze statues, frozen in time, playing in a water fountain in downtown Frisco.
“Oh, girls!” I exclaimed. “It looks like you two playing together, when you were younger.”
“That’s cute,” Sophie said. Savanna smiled too, though she quickly returned to her normal teenage self with a quick “yeah, that’s nice.” But I noticed that she lingered for just a moment longer and snapped a photo on her phone.
I smiled. A lot can happen in 48 hours—our time in Frisco was proving to be a better bonding experience than I’d hoped for—but the impossible can’t happen in 48 hours. Sophie would never “keep up” with Savanna. But she didn’t need to. Each girl could do her own thing.