Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Go Fly a Kite

My mom brought home kites a couple of days ago and my big boy has been chomping at the bit to get out and fly his. Today he wore me down and we walked to the park to see what we could do with it.

At the age of 11 I can see the young man emerging in my little boy. He is almost eye to eye with me, his shoulders are broadening, and he carries himself with more assurance. This is the age when kids are on the cusp. They crave adult privileges with none of the responsibilities. Eleven year olds desire independence, autonomy, but also grow fearful when given too much at once.

We get to the park and walk beyond the playground to the open field. It takes us a few minutes to assemble the kites and get the string where it's supposed to go. My kid is so excited that he cannot patiently wait for my instructions, he's just got to go try it.

It's a breezy day, but not constant. His frustration mounts quickly and it's less than five minutes before he throws the kite down in anger and storms off.

This is new. My words used to be gold to this guy. He would sit next to me, head turned up to hear, eyes locked on mine ready to receive my instructions. "Mom said" was the law in his eyes one short year ago.

This new thing, the not listening, the forging ahead, the I-can-do-it-without-you, is different.

My instinct is to chase him and lecture him, to force him to listen to me. To put my hands on his shoulders and remind him that if he had just listened to my instructions in the first place I could have eliminated his frustration.

The thing is, though, that I remember being frustrated like that. Feeling that just one thing should be easy, feeling like everything was against me, even the wind. So I push against my instinct, turn my face into the wind and run with the kite.

I run and the kite catches the wind in just the right way and it soars into the blue sky. I let out more string so that the kite can go further. The wind whips it around and the tails fly in a frenzy. The kite settles down and I stand grinning in the field. I have also been joined by my boy.

Suddenly the kite does a crazy figure eight and crashes to the ground.

I hand the kite off and tell him he'll figure it out, that I know he can do it, and I mean it when I say it.

Then I walk away.

I am playing with my younger son at the park when I hear him laughing.

"Mom, mom, I'm doing it!"

And he is. He is flying the kite without instruction, and he's just fine.

Arriving home my mom is in the kitchen and sees the kites in our hands.

"Oh, good! You took them out! Did you get it up in the air okay?"

Me and my boy, our eyes meet over the pitcher of tea he's holding. He is asking a question with his sweet brown eyes. I smile in answer. His body relaxes and he rushes to answer.

"Yes! It was great, I flew the kite all by myself!"

I walk out of the room listening to him tell of kite flying and wind and perfection as only an exuberant 11-year old can, and I am so glad I got to fly a kite today, too.

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