When my daughter was three, she was obsessed with the movie Mary Poppins. Every time she got to pick a movie, she picked Mary Poppins. We saw it twenty to thirty times that winter, easily. It was her very favorite movie.
And her very favorite song in her very favorite movie came at the end, when the now-happy family skips out of the house, mended kite in hand. “Let’s go fly a kite!” they sing joyously. “Up to the highest height!” She would skip and twirl around the living room until the song ended and then turn to us seriously. “Can I fly a kite?”
“It’s winter,” we explained twenty to thirty times. “Maybe in the spring.”
When spring finally came, we gave in, bought her a cheap kite and went to the town ballfield. Neither my husband nor I had ever flown a kite before and we weren’t sure how to get it going. We ran, towing it behind us. We threw it up and watched it bonk back down. We took turns holding it in the air, waiting for the right wind gust to come along. We waited and waited and waited with an increasingly desperate three-year-old whining at us. Finally–finally!–the wind picked up and, just like magic, the kite lifted up out of my hands, a thing that wanted to fly.
“It’s up!” my husband screamed victoriously. “It’s flying!” He played out a little more string, stabilized it, and handed the string to our eager daughter. She gazed up at it, wide-eyed and breathless, awestruck. We looked on, tired but proud. Then she looked at us. “Well?” she demanded. “Aren’t you going to sing me the song?”
And that’s the story of how I came to be singing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” while skipping around a small child on the town ballfield.
We still fly kites in the spring. We’ve honed our skills and our ability to judge the wind, but it’s still pretty exciting on a basic level to get out there on a breezy April day and get something colorful in the air.