How To Have An Urban Adventure With Kids
Someday girl I don’t know when were gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go and well walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us baby we were born to run
–From Springsteen and Born to Run
At least once a week we try to plan an adventure with the kids. I prefer activities that cost little or no money, and that help nurtures their curiosity about the world in which we live. I worry sometimes that our all-consuming media-driven culture will completely destroy their imaginations.
The kids are definitely captivated by commercial culture. Sometimes they resist the notion of these adventures. It was like pulling teeth to get Sullivan to come inside the Mexican cowboy boots shop recently, but once he did he had a blast checking out all the big, colorful boots. Our best adventure to date was our trip to the Asian supermarket. There is no match for a boy and the stench of colorful fish heads stacked on crushed ice.
On Sunday, Robert decided to take the kids to see the Oklahoma Land Run Monument.
They loved it!
But, our real adventure was when we walked alongside the railroad tracks. Trains make me nervous. Imagine how these dinosaurs must have felt.
Unfortunately, we discovered more graffiti in the concrete jungle.
Pac-Man’s Inky and Bullwinkle’s Rocky were tattooed on a portion of a federal right-of-way. Aren’t Gen Xers a little old to be tagging concrete walls with their pop culture icons? If this were the work of Generation Y, wouldn’t it be Barney or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?
My kids love to run, and I often wish we lived in the country far away from the concrete jungle. But, if we moved to the country I’d probably miss the city and complain all the time about having to drive five miles to buy a gallon of milk.
Adventure does not come easy. It requires thinking and planning. I’m always scoping out new opportunities for the kids and trying to see the city in a new or different light. I’ve lived in Oklahoma City since I was 17, and I struggle with boredom and wanderlust. At the same time, I savor my warm and familiar rut of usual haunts and traditions. Without a doubt, adventure requires surrender.
It Takes Courage To Be Happy
Two Sundays ago, we cross the Oklahoma River. It’s almost sunset. I tell the kids we’re going on an adventure. Sully says this is stupid, I hate adventures and I say, don’t say that, you’re hurting my feelings. He says I don’t care. I say it’s hot outside, let’s sing Jingle Bells! I start to sing and he plugs his ears and tells me to stop. I push through his resistance. It takes courage to make your own happiness. It takes courage to be creative in the face of a naysayer, even if he is your own precious little boy.
We arrive at the Grotto of Mount St. Mary. Sully and Bridgy skip around the statues that commemorate the Via Dolorosa. Around the corner, Sully sees his first pair of lime sherbet cowboy boots and dives his hand into the ice-cold water of the Mexican food truck. He selects his first Jarrito. As the sun sets, we cross the Oklahoma River north toward home. Sully says Mommy, I wanna tell you something. That was a cool adventure.