Getting Started

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent
The new playground at Barrington Elementary in Upper Arlington.

Dear Columbus Parents,

It's summertime, when we all live a little looser, a little larger, and make time for all the good things in life. At least I try to, whether it's the evening sit-out on the porch with a good book or the "take a random day off from work" for some unplanned fun. And it's also the time of the year when many of us take the annual family vacation.

Earlier this year, I had the chance to travel to Philadelphia with my son, now 15. Just the two of us driving 500 miles there and 500 miles back together. I'll be honest: I was a little apprehensive, wondering if we still had that mother-son mojo that has served us well in the past.

I need not have worried. Now, instead of zoning out by listening to music on the car stereo, we discovered we both enjoy listening to podcasts about science - and then talking about it (gasp!). When I presented him with a very ambitious itinerary for our two full days in Philly, he stunned me by asking to squeeze in two more stops (one of them the Rodin Museum of sculpture, which turned out to be a definite highlight - although before you think we always aim that high, rest assured we also had to see the "Rocky Steps" and statue at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

He didn't want to go in the art museum, mind you. He just wanted to mingle outside with the other tourists doing their best Rocky poses next to that lovely statue.). The results of that journey are recorded herein with our Overnight Trippin' story. (We're already planning a mother-son journey to Washington, D.C., next year, so I can show him all the really cool stuff they don't show the kids on their 8th grade trips!)

This issue also includes a story about an awesome backyard restaurant that the Keels family has set up every summer (this will be their third year for it). How many times did we all "play restaurant" when we were growing up? A lot, I'd bet. How many times did our parents welcome the entire neighborhood to join in and help serve real food? Probably not very often. That's why I found the Keels parents' brave whimsy worth spotlighting here (and the fact that they do it to raise money for good causes only makes it cooler).

So hang loose this summer (just like our cover model Aurie on the Barrington Elementary School playground in Upper Arlington) and reconnect with your kids. The fun you share might just surprise you!