Oklahoma City family fun isn’t just about what you do but with whom.
This Sunday is Father’s Day and the internet is alive with #ThrowbackThursday photos and tributes. I read this week in a ZerotoThree.org study that dads have never been more hands-on in the day-to-day parenting of small children. In fact, 47% of those surveyed said they participate in more quality time with their own small children than their own fathers did with them.
I see those positive statistics play out, literally, here at home with my own husband and our three small children, ages 9, 4 and 18 months. There are so many options within our metropolitan area to have fun out with kids big and small. If you’re looking for an activity this weekend, click here for MetroFamily’s 2016 Father’s Day Guide.
Honoring our own dads as the sandwich generation that cares for small children while also being involved closely with our own parents is where I find myself now, even as mine remain able-bodied, just broaching retirement age.
I feel fortunate to look back on happy times with my Dad as a child but there weren’t many metropolitan events, as were severely lacking in anything metropolitan. We lived in a rural area just outside of Yellowstone National Park that felt far removed from family fun activities and organized community gatherings.
That was okay because I certainly didn’t know the difference.
My Dad did attend the token events he was expected to: dance recitals, music performances, an occasional church celebration. That was really all there was to do, besides outdoor activities that were largely uninteresting to me. Distances in the area were long and we traveled almost three hours every month to reach the orthodontist and the better grocery store.
We heard a lot of music during those car rides and Dwight Yoakam topped the playlist. I learned all the words to his songs during elementary school, sang along as we drove through what seemed like our own thousand miles from nowhere.
Fifteen years and a different life later, a friend gifted my Dad and I concert tickets, complete with a meet and greet at Dwight Yoakam’s recent Riverwind Casino appearance. We now live in an area that draws a crowd and famed figures, familiar to us with their own kind of nostalgia underscored by memories pieced together in the way that music seems to connect the recent with the past.
My Dad drove me to the concert and home again, which seemed fitting.
We watched, sang, smiled and felt a kind of a joy inherent to fathers and their children. Through all the possibilities, we still connect on these terms, as adults now reflecting on all that was then. The concert experience wouldn’t have been the same without that history, the indelible years and shared experience.
The wish I hold for all fathers this year and for future years is to find that kind of commonality with their children, sooner or later. Sometimes, we have to sit through a lot of sports practices, concerts and church events as parents. We smile and nod, applaud and snap photos. Before that can happen, there are diapers and messes and a fair amount of scolding. The genuine connection does come full circle, I can confirm, as I look across the room at my own children playing quietly.
Our parents wait on us for so long; later we wait on them and that’s the way it works out.
Happy Father’s Day!