Last Friday was Kite Day for the kindergarteners. Parents welcome! Please come help your 5 and 6-year-olds fly kites! Because we damn well know they can’t do it on their own! A festival of tangled tails and flying failures!
Something you should know about me: I hate flying kites. Mainly because I just plain don’t know how to do it. Kind of like how I don’t know how to drive a stick, but they make automatic cars, so why don’t they make automatic kites? A question to ponder for another day.
I attended Kite Day two years ago when Rachel and Claire were in kindergarten. I was late, having just picked up Zoe from preschool. Each kindergartener who didn’t have a parent present had been paired with a 5th grader who was likely just as enthusiastic to be there as I was (outside: awesome; helping little kids fly kites: probably not so much).
It was a disaster of epic proportions.
By the time I came across Claire, her kite – a recent gift from Nana and Grandpa – was in shambles. The string was tangled up with the 800 foot-long tail, and no amount of fussing and pulling and yanking – all whilst watching out for rogue kite strings – would fix the number the wind had done on her poor kite. Kite Day was done for her almost as soon as it had begun.
I dragged cranky Zoe, sad Claire, and the tangled kite around the field looking for Rachel. We finally found her with her 5th grade buddy, who actually succeeded in getting her kite to fly. But once I showed up, she hesitantly started to back away, looking hopefully to me for the okay to run off with her friend.
The four of us basically wandered around, Claire’s tangled kite in hand, periodically tossing Rachel’s kite in the air, only to watch it flop to the ground, all the while trying to keep Zoe from running off and getting clotheslined by a Pokemon kite string.
Fucking Kite Day.
So when the invitation came home this year, I begged and pleaded and basically told Christian “You will need take off work Friday afternoon and go fly kites with your daughter.”
Because Christian is Kite Flyer: Level Expert.
When he held his finger up to test the wind, I knew there was no going back.
He knows all the moves. Throw the kite up in the air, but the string can’t be too long, and try not to look like a ballet company reject who’s bitter about getting turned down for a backup part, just kind of toss it in the air a little. If you’re holding the kite, you run! No not that far. Just get it going, now let the line out! No, not like that. Flick your wrist! Flick it! Just. Flick. It! Okay, whoa, ease up a little on the line now.
After a few failed attempts, I noticed that our kite looked different from the others.
So I said, “Wait. I think this hook thingy is supposed to go on the other side.”
And he said, “It’s called a BRIDLE, and you’re right.”
Then he said, “Geez, Zoe, who put this kite together for you?”
That would be me. I put the kite together.
And Zoe said, “Mommy. Mommy put the kite together.”
My own child threw me under the bus. But to be fair, she said it so sweetly; she had no idea I had done it wrong. Zoe, always and forever on my side, except when she figures out I don’t know how to fly a fucking kite.
Anyway. Once the BRIDLE was in the correct position, everything was peachy and wonderful and the kite soared and flew super high and OMG kites are boring.
(Actually, he made me fly it for a few minutes – let out the line! No, not like that! Flick your wrist! Pull! Now stop! Yes! You’re doing it! – and it was rather exhilarating. And then 48 seconds later it was super boring.)
Ladies, few things are sexier than a man flying a Cinderella kite for his 6-year-old daughter.
Not sexy – the laceration he gets from getting clotheslined by a random kite.
Not long before it was time to wrap up the kites – pun fully intended – I came across a little girl struggling with her kite. Another mom was trying to help her, but I recognized something.
Her BRIDLE was on the wrong side of her kite. She was doomed.
So I thought, “I can fix this!”
But it wasn’t just the bridle. Her line was tangled, and we couldn’t get it undone.
And the tears just started streaming down her face. “But I didn’t get to fly my kite, and my mommy couldn’t come, and I really wanted to fly it……”
Oh, sweet baby Jesus.
By this time the 5th graders were headed back inside. Teachers were rounding kindergarteners up, while a few rogue kids and parents caught a few extra minutes flying. If this little girl didn’t get to fly a kite, I was going to start crying myself.
“What’s your name, sweetie?”
“Okay, Gemma, come over here.”
One thing you should know about Christian: kids LOVE him. And he loves kids. He’s always the guy at the birthday party with a crowd of kids around him, and not in a creepy way. He’s a huge kid at heart, something that came through big time as he managed to get his – I mean Zoe’s – Cinderella kite higher and higher.
Christian gave Gemma the kite and instructed her to throw it in the air – ballerina reject or not – while he got it flying. And then he handed the reins over to her.
And she flew that damn kite.
“Look at her,” he said. “Pure joy on her face.”
And THAT is why I am married to this man. Well, that and he makes me breakfast on the weekends.
Gemma backed up further and further to fly the kite. We were the only ones who remained on the field, watching Gemma’s kite soar, along with her spirits.
The kindergarten classes had formed on the sidelines. It was time to head back. The kite came down, and we all gave Gemma high fives for her mad kite flying skills. And then I walked her over to her class, where her teacher was looking for her, quickly explained that she just needed a few kite-flying minutes, and headed back to my girl and her class.
I’m fortunate that I have such a flexible schedule that I can attend school events. I’m equally fortunate that Christian has the freedom to take half the day when I beg him to come fly a kite with his daughter because I seriously suck at it. Maybe Gemma won’t remember much about Kite Day. All I care about is that moment – that exhilarating moment when it was just her and the kite and the joy on her face, and that it was time to go in before she realized kite flying was, in fact, super boring.