Spring brings Oklahoma City family fun back to life. Sure as new flowers and budding trees, sunny days invite us outside to do more than we have all winter.
My Instagram feed is full of tulips, Easter eggs, iced tea and cute outfits. Also popping up are more outdoor community events, fresh museum exhibitions and beautiful things to go see.
I really don't love cold weather. I do try to find engaging activities and although there's no shortage of them, this year has felt somewhat bleak so far, to be honest. Illness, violence, ugliness and uncertainty have made gray days seem darker.
I look at my three sons, though, and I think it's my job to choose how much of that they take in, shape their reality and point it to something better because right now they are 10, 6 and 3. We do have to talk out the hard questions. They face down everything from schoolyard bullies to what's happening on the nightly news and it's not easy as a parent to balance those bigger themes with having a nice time too and living out our own much calmer if not somewhat sheltered reality. It's conflicting but I can't be the only parent who's struggling that way.
What I do know is this: Although I cannot provide an immediate fix or even help very much with some of the broader issues that are hurting families right now, raising children to be the change we all want to see has its place. I do want to help my sons take an interest in their community, give them a good example and a happy enough childhood to be kind parents too someday, outstanding professionals and good citizens. Spring's green is the color of hope, after all. Lions and lambs each have their day.
It's not as simple as a change of season, of course. The broader picture is full of complexities and I don't want to disengage from it or shield them entirely. I do want daily joy for them, though, and there is nothing wrong with that.
March weather definitely takes a turn for the brighter. Here are four things I'm looking forward to this spring with ideas to help your days feel a little sunnier too:
Spring Break: I love that when my sons get home from school now, they can easily spend an hour playing outdoors. And that's pretty much my plan for this year's Spring Break. Rainy days are going to happen, though, so I need a Plan B. All the local Spring Break resources you could want are right here. Also? Quick reference: I plan to break out this Spring Break Day-by-Day Guide that's particularly helpful for the random afternoon you're really out of ideas and don't want to keep searching.
Easter: Want to meet up with friends at an egg hunt? Hear "Peter Rabbit" read aloud? Celebrate in a religious way? Celebrate in a non-religious way? Check out all the options in MetroFamily's Easter Fun Guide.
The Myriad Botanical Gardens Orchid and Poetry show: I know, that's a niche topic, but orchids are amazingly gorgeous and I'm really looking forward to it. My father-in-law, who never asks for help with anything, texted me recently: "How difficult would it be to export orchids from the United States?" I had no idea. Turns out, not all that difficult. He collects and breeds and does botany-related things with orchids now that he's retired from 40 years of medicine in his home country of Costa Rica. Orchids are the national flower and he has a greenhouse just for the hundreds of species he has chosen to spend his days raising. He is coming to visit later this month and as luck would have it, all the orchids used for the plant show go on sale March 25. One phytosanitary certificate and an inspection from the State Department of Agriculture later and it turns out he can export them. Perfect timing! We're going. You can view the orchids on display between now and then.
Farmers markets: Healthy food makes us happy. Just walking through stands filled with fresh fruits, vegetables and homemade products uplifts our Saturdays. Find a list here with all the best local ones to visit soon.
Excitement fills the air right now.
The fact that our family will be welcoming our fourth baby later this month is also part of why I feel it's a very hopeful time. Spring babies are everywhere, from the Oklahoma City Zoo to friends and neighbors too.
No matter what small joy comes your way this spring, my wish for you and yours is that the sunshine does brighten your day sooner rather than later.