Let’s go fly a kite

Every summer when we go to the beach, we bring along a cheap kite, and John skillfully puts it into the sky.

There are always kite flyers who have cooler, more expensive kites. I even heard this year that you can buy a kite with LED lights on it, designed to look as if fireworks are cascading down around it.

We never spend more than $2 or $3 on a kite, and it always works just fine. And the children love it.

Uncle George has a kite that cost more than $3, and it flies well, too. (Photo by Treasa Matysek)

This year, for the first time, I trusted that none of the children would let go of the kite. And no one did—at least not on purpose. And as I watched them hanging out on the sand, waiting mostly patiently for turns holding the string, I realized how quickly our boys and their cousins are growing.

And I thought about how parenting can be like kite flying.
You have to make sure the string is attached, but you also need to let out more string so the kite can fly higher.

You know there will be moments when the kite will fall—whether because of something you did or an imperfection in the kite or because the wind dies down—and you have to be ready to patch it up and send it back into the sky.

Photo by Treasa Matysek

Sometimes you’ll have to run to get your kite in the air, and sometimes you’ll find yourself walking backwards. You might even be watching the kite so closely that you’ll trip and fall yourself.
At moments you’ll feel frustrated, wondering whether to blame yourself, the kite, or the wind. At other times you’ll watch the kite soaring, and you’ll feel victorious—even though you know you can’t take all the credit.

Photo by Treasa Matysek

If you do your job well, the kite will fly high in the sky. It might be so small, you’ll feel a bit alone. But you’re still holding the string, and you’ll know that the two of you are still connected.

Photo by Treasa Matysek

Our little ones are still small enough to ask me for help with almost everything. But every now and then I realize how quickly they are growing. Maybe it’s because we go to the beach once a year, at the same time every summer, that their growth hits home on vacation in a special way.
I realize that Leo is old enough to go on the bumper cars with an adult, that Daniel can navigate stairs without any issues. I discover that they are more articulate, more confident, more knowledgeable, and just a little more trustworthy.
As they grow, I know that sometimes they’ll fall, and sometimes they’ll fly. I hope they’ll always know that I’ll be holding the end of the string, watching them soar and being ready to catch them if they drop to the sand.

My sister-in-law’s parents found this kite in China.

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