Flying a Kite

There are certain tasks a child expects her parent to be able to do, without question or fail, at every single attempt. It is inherently assumed that Mom and Dad will always be able to: a) assemble a bike, b) make a boo-boo feel better, c) tie a shoe, and d) fly a kite. Guess which one I can’t do.

Alas, yesterday it was windy enough for naive, optimistic Mom (that’s me) to suggest to Saoirse that we try out her new kite. Funny, thing, telling someone to go fly a kite: you say that to an adult–“Hey! Go fly a kite, wouldya?!”–and you risk getting punched in the face. Say the same thing to a 3-year-old, though, and you get, “Okay! That sounds like fun! Let’s GO!” So outside we went, plopping Quinn in the grass, where she promptly ripped off her socks only to discover that bare grass feels awful on a baby’s skin:

This is also where my poor eldest child discovered that Mom is a failure, at least when it comes to kite-flying on a semi-windy day in the middle of land-locked (i.e., no lovely consant sea-born wind to help a mother out) Pennsylvania. But I discovered some little lessons yesterday. Yes, kite-flying can teach us about life. Follow me, here:

1. Don’t fly a kite on a day where there’s no wind. That’s just masochistic. Choose your timing.

2. You may get tangled up in your sister’s hair. She will not like this, nor will you. Take a deep breath, untangle yourself, carry on.

3. Sometimes your kite will seem like it will float on its string forever, only to suddenly nose dive and do a suicide fall into the shed. That’s just the way it might go.

4. But sometimes–oh, glorious sometimes!–when you’re just about ready to give up, a gust of wind will come along and you will be validated as a massively fortunate genius. Others will gape at the majesty of your feat. Happily bask in the glow of your accomplishment. 

5. Sometimes you will crash at every single attempt, no matter what. Do not let the kite defeat you. The kite cannot win. Be persistent. Dust yourself up, pick up the kite, start over again.

6. And lastly, though, when it stops being fun, call it a day. Kick off your shoes, drink a glass of lemonade and go play on the swings instead. There’s always tomorrow.

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