Oklahoma City family fun has never been so vibrant. I’m continually surprised by the variety of events and family activities hosted in our community.
Ths time of year especially, MetroFamily’s calendar is full of local festivals, 5ks and incredibly diverse activities. Our calendar editor, Lindsay Cuomo, is tasked with a difficult choice every week: what to include in Weekend Picks, MetroFamily’s Thursday newsletter that features at least 10 of the best events taking place in the metro for the upcoming weekend plus five slated to take place the next week. Other staffers weigh in to help narrow down the list. Readers vote for the Facebook Pick of the Week but sometimes it’s still a close call with all that’s going on in Oklahoma City.
I lived in a lot of different places growing up and OKC wasn’t described to me as a major metropolitan area. If I could dispel one myth about life here, that’d be my talking point: Oklahoma is always changing and that evolution makes it a great place to raise a family without missing out on cosmopolitan life. Music, arts, theater – so much comes to Oklahoma City or is born out of it. Conferences like Creativity World Forum underscore the conversations that help shape where we live and the fact that the forum was hosted here at Civic Center Music Hall this past week says a lot about where we are in terms of progressive thought, engaged families and openness to change.
It’s easy to get inspired by great speakers or renowned musicians and I feel fortunate to have seen both in the past month. I wrote last week’s post, though, about how the best laid plans often go awry. This parenting thing isn’t all cute photos and great memories, even though there are definitely a lot of those too. Family life is busy and it’s messy and would be entirely different if laundry and dishes weren’t a constant times infinity. Day in and day out, we’re trying to make dinner together happen while still getting the homework done and answering the phone with a baby tucked our arms. Not “Southern Living” dinner, just dinner, followed by the usual clean up. It’s what we all seem to do and know and live as the caretakers of small people. In fact, I think most parents share a layer of crumbs and grass and twigs and weird stuff jammed into small jean pockets at recess as a kind of common denominator. We’ve all been there, cleaning it out of the lint filter.
The day of the Creativity World Forum, I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired. I rushed to feed the baby, wrangle my toddler into clothes without any stains and leave my second-grader at school before heading downtown.Traffic was thick. My leggings somehow sprouted a hole between when I put them on and when I stepped out of my car. The parking meter wouldn’t take my credit card and I detest being late. Tuesday wasn’t shaping up.
Stepping away from all that had gone wrong so far made the difference between a bad day and a good one. I heard speakers talk about educational theory, the importance of unstructured play and what makes kids successful adults. What I came away with was that kids need something to be good at, interested in, able to do. Self confidence, imagination and all those qualities we’re supposed to encourage come as a result.
My sons are 2 months, 3 and 7 and I don’t know what they excel at yet. I want to help them find out and events in our community, trying new things, seeing a lot of different ones, can foster their identities. Even if we have to attend gallery openings with snack sacks stashed in my purse, stepping out in Oklahoma City is worth doing with them.
It’s good for me too and that’s what makes those memories, the good part of family life never matter where you live.