My son has a red dragon kite. My husband has a Red Baron kite. On Friday, we flew them.
It was one of those magical family events that happened with little or no planning. We simply found a field behind the elementary school that was hidden from the road, enclosed and private, on a hill surrounded by acres of empty green horse pasture. There was no other human being in the world visible as far as we could see, except each other. Our family. Alone. Just us and two kites: a red dragon and the Red Baron.
As we walked out into the open field, Riley’s kite came to life. It flapped and whirred in his hand like a falcon ready for flight. I had to help him get the beast under control as it fought for freedom. Riley backed away, unwinding the string ever-so-slowly, then a bit faster. I raised the kite up in the air, and there was no restraining it further. It caught the wind with a loud rustling sound and soared into the air. Riley showed us proudly that he could twirl and switch hands with a certain flourish, the master of his kite.
Meanwhile, my stepdaughter Sunni set the Red Baron free. Now, the Red Baron can dive and spin, making a full 360-degree circle in the sky, swooping down almost to striking range and then swiftly back up again to the highest reach of its string. You could almost imagine it was piloted by something other than the wind. In contrast, Riley’s kite flapped and bowed like the regal dragon it was, with purple ribbons streaming out from each wing tip.
As I watched the kids flying the kites, my husband snapped pictures and talked about the old kite he remembered having as a kid. That’s when, suddenly, the Red Baron nose-dived forcefully into a cluster of tall trees that stood just along the edge of a barbed-wire fence. There was a collective gasp, and somebody said, “We’ll never get that back. Never.” Well, THAT was just too challenging for my husband to pass up. Within a few minutes, he had scaled the fence, dodged the barbed-wire, and climbed so high into the tree that I was afraid to look. He bent the branches back, did some untwisting, and the Red Baron rose back up into air again, as the kids squealed that Dad was their hero.
The kites crossed strings a few times, causing their masters to cry out to each other and run in opposite directions. I lay down on the grass in the middle of the field, with Sunni, who had passed her kite duties off to her sister. We looked into the vast blueness of the cloudless sky and thought we could almost feel the earth turn. Then Kyle came over and put one of his Ipod buds in my ear. The song was, “Happy Together” by the Turtles.
That afternoon, there was no diabetes, no autism, no ADHD, and no squabbles. There were no doctor bills, orthodontist appointments, clinic visits, prescriptions, or worries. It all disappeared. Two kites and a big open field will do that—two kites like a red dragon and the Red Baron, on any Friday when the wind is just right.
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