Flying kites is the kind of thing you think you will do all the time with your kids before you are a mother.
On any given blustery March day you would announce to your children who are seated diligently working on their homework without being asked, “Hey, let’s go fly a kite!” and everyone would agree and that would be that.
But I am embarrassed to admit, I have maybe one time in 13 years flown kites with my kids.
My sister was the one who orchestrated our kite-flying date. She makes sure to have something fun on the calendar at all times. Aunt Skie, as my kids call her, and her husband, Uncle Kevin, never had kids of their own. That is part of what makes her so cool. She is able to play, unencumbered by a school schedule, bedtime rituals, or the need to raise a contributing member of society.
She is fun.
And, she spared me another errand, (buying the kite) another sibling squabble (which kite to buy). When we pulled up to her house, she shoved three kites in the car with the kids and hopped in. I relished in the simplicity of it – no snacks or water bottles, no sand toys or towels or beach chairs. The schlep factor was a zero. While I drove to the beach, the short ride was spent trying to unravel the already tangled kites and laughing about the inevitability of kite tangles (probably another reason I never fly kites with my kids.).
I took delight in watching the kids being kids, running, with the kites, cheering each other on.
Then my sister yelled, “Give your mom a turn!” She handed me a blue plastic spool and said, “Feel this.” Immediately, the tug of the kite fluttering in the wind blew a whoosh of kite associated memories into my mind – Benjamin Franklin with a key in a lightning storm. Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke singing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”
The wind made my teeth and gums feel dry as I smiled, running north on the packed sand near the tide’s edge. My sweatshirt hood contained the majority of my wild ponytail leaving only a few loose wisps that lashed against my cheeks. I held the tugging spool in my hand, as the floating and flapping kite followed me. A winter sun, brown sugar under my feet, the swirling and churning ocean’s waves exploding against the sand. It all rolled in the wind like invisible tumbleweed hitting me with one collective burst of inspiration.
I thought, “Look at me seagulls – I am flying, too.”
But in the next instant, I decided to yell out loud to the scattering of white and grey birds as I ran past them,
“Look at me, Seagulls!”
No one thought I was crazy, partly because the beach was deserted, except for my sister and my kids and partly because my sister wouldn’t think twice about talking to seagulls, anyway.
Just then I heard my kids’ voices. My daughter caught up to me and asked if she could have a turn, I handed her the spool of kite string, charged, like Benjamin Franklin’s kite with electric inspiration.