Oklahoma City family fun lets us press pause.
I have no idea what happened to the summer. It seems to me that the school year ended just recently and yet, we're already facing parent-teacher meetings, homework and the lull of routine.
June already feels like a distant memory. We're squaring up third grade, no longer second, and my toddler is going to preschool but here we are, looking at the same lineup again, back to regularly scheduled programming.
So it goes with three small children at home and I fear their childhood will pass by just as quickly.
Few things seem as certain for parents: they do grow up.
There will come a day when no one in this house uses bibs, booster seats or bottles. Sometimes, of course, that eventuality feels far off because of diapers and laundry and cereal in the carpet and I can't wait for a few years to pass, especially when nothing goes as planned. Then I remember that Sam is 8 already and how quickly the time has gone to arrive at this age. Another eight years and he will be 16, which seems impossible now.
They'll all tie their own shoes, not just walk but run and all too soon, be drivers instead of passengers.
I bought a rocking chair recently and sat down to read aloud to my three sons, each of whom seemed to be staring eagerly up at me, all at once. They looked so small somehow, a semi-circle of smiling faces. The scene reminded me of an illustration in "Peter Pan" with Wendy Moira Angela Darling surrounded by her own set of lost boys. Unlike hers, though, mine are destined to grow up and there is no Never Never Land where we can retreat to somehow pause these years.
All we can do is enjoy our time.
That's a tall order because there's just so much to do and a lot of mess to clean up along the way. I think of this quote from the movie "Hook," spoken by another Wendy: "We have a few special years with our children, when they're the ones that want us around. After that you're going to be running after them for a bit of attention. It's so fast, Peter. It's a few years, and it's over. And you are not being careful. You are missing it."
Time is an odd jumble. I was 6 when that movie came out and Robin Williams died a year ago and how is it possible my youngest child is already 7 months old? No idea. What I do know for certain, though, is that it's the good times we'll remember.
I'm that mom with the iPhone and 7,000 photos, visual aids I hope will capture the best times even as they fade like so many summer fireflies.
We scroll through the camera roll together and remember the places we've gone, vaguely familiar through thousands of images. There's a lot we don't see, lint in the dryer and spilled milk, but what we remember is what's important.
A good time was had by all, I hope we'll conclude later when my table is full at holidays and we pull up these photos on some device not yet imagined.
I don't want to miss my sons' childhood even if there are a lot of unpleasant details that no one wants to photograph or remember or get through. I don't want to fast forward through anything, skip ahead, know how it all turns out.
If you're looking for family fun, MetroFamily's calendar features activities for every day of the week. Click here for ideas on family activities for the end of summer. It's not too late to make some great memories with your kids, no matter their age.
P.S. Labor Day marks the end of summer and MetroFamily's annual guide to what's happening locally can be found here.