Oklahoma City family fun is worth repeating.
We have a new tradition at my house: #ThrowbackThursday classic movie night.
Each person has a screen, a device that takes our attention: I have my laptop, my husband has his phone and our sons take turns with the iPad. We don't have game consoles or other tablets; it feels like enough to manage the time spent in front of the TV and the iPad without adding more electronics.
We're all navigating what it is to live in this age of technology, what skills should be reinforced and how much is too much.
Where we come together, though, is a compromise on Thursday nights with a movie that's totally new to at least the children in the house who didn't grow up in the '80s or '90s. The other devices are put aside as we gather around a different screen, a focal point streamed or downloaded to share with them what we remember from childhood.
"The Sandlot" was our first movie of the summer break, a Thursday night spent with themes that seemed to fit the season, baseball and friendship and free time. No one answered their text messages or checked email. It was just us and the Jiffy Pop.
There's nothing more pressing during those two hours, give or take, than the stories that unfold and the time we spend just watching "Hook" or "Beethoven" or "The Neverending Story" because we're establishing some common ground. Isn't that at least part of the reason the new old "Star Wars" has become popular again?
I hope, at least, that what we're doing has value beyond the immediate good time. Later, when they are teenagers with opinions and much more important things to do on a Thursday night, I think we'll have something to say to one another, even if it's just "Do you remember 'Batteries Not Included'? You fell asleep in my lap before the aliens could put everything back together and fly home." They won't remember and they'll say "Oh, is that how that movie ends?" and we'll say "Yes. Do you want to watch it with me?"
They'll nod reluctantly and we'll do this all again.
That's how I hope it plays out, our own story as it unfolds through the years.
Rewind means nothing to them. There are no VHS tapes. My sons aren't interested in Disneyland because they don't know "Aladdin" or "Lady and the Tramp." We have to add what we can to our Netflix queue as tiny fingers scroll through it with amazing dexterity. Maybe we'll go someday; maybe we won't.
What I do know is that we have this Thursday night and there are ways to make it count, inspire imaginations and share something we can talk about later, at a time when we can't talk about anything else.
That is, I suppose, the magic of movies.
If only that same timeless quality extended to this time in childhood, the summer my sons are 9, 4 and 1, and there was some way to rewind, live it all again.
In the theater, I often look back at the person far above in the tiny window in charge of playing the film. Here, in the darkness of my own living room, I stare at these children's expressions, eyes that register wonder and the newness of all they're seeing.
Their eyelashes curl and I notice new freckles, that they need haircuts and that their legs are suddenly long.
I know that these days will be the ones we think of as old and good and there is comfort in that, so I won't be taking any calls or answering any texts on Thursday evening. We're busy then, at the movies.
If you're looking for movies to share with your family this summer, click here for a list. Have others to add? Email email@example.com and we'll consider it for our list of suggested titles.