Every boy should have a kite
Yes, that's right. Every boy should have a kite. And fly it!
Yesterday I took my son to the Festival of Kites, held by my local City Council. After the tremendous storms that lashed Melbourne on Saturday, the weather on Sunday had calmed enough to be an amazing day for being outdoors, and the wind was perfect for kite flying. Strong, steady winds made it easy to get a kite up, and keep it there.
There was a range of kites, from more modern synthetic material ones to more traditional Chinese paper kites. My favourite was this long Chinese dragon, which turned out to be made of paper, over 100 feet long, had an intricate dragon's head, and needed two people to keep hold of when aloft!
My son and I were so inspired, we decided to get ourselves one. I bought a $15 synthetic kite from a stall at the festival. It confounded all my memories of kite flying as a boy. Half the struggle was usually getting it up there for the wind to carry higher and higher, or losing a kite to a tree. (Remember Charlie Brown's kite-eating tree? Well, I had my own, which devoured a beautiful box kite my father had given me.)
The kite we bought, however, was really easy to get up in the air. (A fair wind did help!) I enjoyed this kite. It was bright and colourful, had a tail that spun in the wind, and could get really high up. But it was hard for a novice like me keep it up there.
Making things more difficult was that so many people were also flying kites that they'd bought that day, we kept getting our lines tangled, and had kites crashing into each other and to the ground. It was a wonder no one was hurt.
The best thing was seeing my son having fun. It was lovely to see him get a kick out of flying a kite – he so wanted to hold on to it himself, to be in charge of it. It was hard for me to let go. What if it got tangled in some other kite? What if he couldn't hold on and let go of the reel of string? There would go $15 and a pretty snazzy kite; and judging by his reactions to when his helium balloons got taken off into the sky, my son would be pretty upset too.
This became a test of how well I could let go – of always holding on to a situation and trying to make sure my son didn't get his feelings hurt. I can't say I passed with flying colours this time, but did well enought to help my son to fly the kite by himself for a bit – before he lost interest in its occasional crashes to the ground and ran off to the playground...
And so it goes. It was fun. Every boy – I mean father – should have kite, and take it and his kid(s) out to a big park on a windy day and fly it. And hopefully, his kid would get a huge kick out of it, forget about TV for the afternoon, and end up with great memories of kite-flying with his or her dad when they're much older – and trying desperately to remember what their dad taught them about it when they're trying to show their own kids how to fly one.