Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Send it Soaring

Many, many years ago, the Easter Bunny upped his game and delivered - along with the art supplies, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and toothbrushes that usually filled our baskets - beautiful, high-quality kites to my sister and me. Well, Sara's purple kite with a pink unicorn on it was beautiful. My blue kite with a white bunny on it was only kind of beautiful. Back then I honestly believed that only those items doused in pink, purple, or teal deserved the title of "beautiful".

That spring, Sara and I tried - with our dad's help - to fly those kites, and time after time after time we felt flat. Or more accurately, our kites fell flat. I have no idea if it just wasn't windy enough or if the kites were too heavy or if we had poor technique, but throughout that spring and the years that followed, I can only remember the kites taking to the air once.

So I don't know what the Easter Bunny was thinking when he brought Will and Hallie kites this year. Didn't he remember how frustrated kites had once made these children's mama?

We added "fly kites" to our Summer Bucket List, but I planned on the kites remaining in their packaging throughout the summer months. Though I always let the kids weigh in when it comes to the Summer Bucket List, ultimately I make the final decision...and I expected to create (and then actually did create) excuse after excuse - "it's not windy enough, it's too hot outside, we need Daddy to help us" - to avoid having to endure the kite-flying (or more accurately, the kite non-flying) experience again.

But last weekend, while I was writing at Starbucks, Tom graciously volunteered to break in the kites. An hour into my two-and-a-half hour window of writing time, the beep signaling the arrival of a text message startled me out of my work coma. When I glanced down at my phone and saw a beautifully triumphant picture of BOTH kites up in the air, I immediately closed my computer, drove home to grab my camera, and cruised up to the park where this supposed kite flying was taking place.

As it turns out, Texas - or at least the valley in which our city is nestled - is perfect for flying kites. Most importantly, it's crazy windy here. But the conditions for flying kites in our neighborhood improve beyond just "being windy" thanks to two additional facts: 1) the field at the park is in a basin, and the wind swirling around within the basin helps to initially lift the kites, and 2) the heat rising off the smoldering asphalt provides an invisible cushion upon which airborne kites can comfortably rest.

As long as either Tom or I held them up in the air, the kites took off as soon as the kids started running.
At the ready.
And she's off!
On her way up and out of the basin.
The kites remained high in the sky until the kids ran past each other and tangled their strings. Then they cried and yelled at each other while Tom struggled to make sense of the mess and I took pictures. I'm super helpful like that.

I feel badly that I avoided kite-flying for so long; the kids clearly loved the activity, and it would have been a shame if my less-than-stellar experience had kept them from their joyful and exhilarating experience. The kites will most certainly come out again and again this fall, and perhaps the Easter Bunny will make a tradition out of bringing new kites each spring. (The kites the Easter Bunny brought last Easter were VERY inexpensive and likely won't survive more than a year.)

Texas comes through for us again!
The wind carried the kites up, up, and away but wasn't strong enough to keep us cool.
To say this little girl was sweaty after flying her kite would be a gross understatement.

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