The summer slide from July 4 into Oklahoma’s already advertised back-to-school season is swift. Before we know it, these children, the ones who ring my doorbell and my own who spread toys throughout the living room, will be back in school and we’ll start figuring out the school bus again or driving the drop-off/pick-up route. The safety of routine feels far away right now but I know it’s coming, all too fast.
Some days, of course, the new school year can’t get here fast enough, with screams of “Sam’s putting my sock into my plate!” and announcements like “There’s a fly!” and “I can’t find my sandal!” It’s a lot, for anyone, but I’m so glad we have these voices, even the really shrill ones, around the house.
The implicit danger of summer fun after driving age isn’t something I’m worried about right now, not yet. I can see all that lies beyond, bordering adulthood, with risks on the horizon as my oldest nears 13. There’s no fear about where my four sons are or who they’re with beyond our own neighborhood. Dealing with the jumble of Netflix, action figures and watermelon rinds pales in comparison to worries about bonfires and motorcycles and moonshine. I’ll take the current mix for a few more years.
What my children really want right now is for me to play Monopoly. They’ve set up the classic old-school board game across my dining room table and it’s been there since Monday, waiting for me. I just haven’t gotten there to sit down for the length of time that kind of activity requires. We’ll play together soon, I say with all the sincerity of the “Cat’s Cradle” father. I keep pushing it, falling asleep, finding a reason not to make it happen.
I am better at going out and doing things.
It really takes getting out of the house to have fun with them because there are too many distractions in a house full of chores and children and work to be done. Here are three events I plan to attend:
- American Cowboy Warrior: The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Kids Take Over the Museum programming takes place throughout July and this Saturday is the venue’s American Cowboy Warrior event. It’s free with admission and includes snow cones, which will be refreshing after completing exactly what the theme sounds like: an inflatable obstacle course. It’s easy to spend a few hours in the museum’s gallery area and in Prosperity Junction, the old time ghost town. Check out the full schedule of all the children’s events taking place there this month, many of which are free.
- Porter Peach Festival: A full list of summer festivals is here but I like the Porter Peach Festival because it has two weeknight options, Thursday and Friday, July 18 and 19, as well as Saturday, July 20. The drive is just under two hours so it’s doable with kids. I’d also like to go to the Toy and Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley just to remember that we took the daytrip. If you’re looking for road trips that are doable with kids, see this list.
- Free FireLake Fireflight Balloon Fest: We attended this festival last year and it was one the highlights of our summer. Starting a new tradition, full of color, feels like a beautiful way to say goodbye to summer. The event in Shawnee is Aug. 9 and 10; admission is free but hot air balloon rides cost.
It’s quiet at my house now. All the children are napping. This kind of calm will be all that we’ll have after they are grown and even sooner for at least part of the day, in just a few weeks when school is in session. I will plan other event this summer, things to do and places to go, but my first order of business after they wake up is to play Monopoly this evening. The time for quiet will be later and that’s fine because summer is almost over. I don’t want to miss it or them, so I’ll let them deal me in and pass Go, while we all still can.