I was in Berkeley last week and caught the end of the Kite Festival. This is a wonderful family event to witness the amazing array of kites take over the sky and share the excitement of the kite-fliers, of all ages, and the wonder-gaze of the children.
Being there I was reminded of all the times my ex and I took our children to the Berkeley Marina to fly kites and my mind ruminated over one specific Sunday when we went to get the kite, and I pondered if my children even remember.
While I am uncertain about the specific year when this occurred, I think the children were, 4, 6 and 10 years old, respectively and I had gotten them new kites. The sky was clear, the wind strong, but the air warm. We climbed the knoll and our day unfolded, running and rolling and trying to keep our kites from being entangled with others in close proximity.
JaJa, my son, with his usual zeal and zest, and untiring energy unfolded his kite last and his face lit up as it soared in the sky and his Baba helped him steer it while also cautioning him to hang on tight. The kite took off, its yellow and green tail swirling, the wind tugging and batting it around. Jaja began to run with the kite, and we all applauded the frantic dance of the kite that seemed to be having as much fun as as we were.
And then JaJa stumbled and the kite flew from his hand and ascended further into the sky. We watched as the kite dipped and soared and spread itself and glided across the sky, free and confident to explore. We kept watching as it sailed across the water and got caught in a tree.
“Let’s go get it!” JaJa shouted taking off. His Baba caught up with him and explained that the kite was too far, and even if we were to walk that distance, there was no guarantee that we could unhinge it from the tree. Jaja pleaded, determined, and as a family, we decided to give it a try. We walked for well over a mile, sweat pressing our clothes to our bodies. At long last, we circled the harbor and was under the tree. We could see the kite, still trying to free itself, but the wind and a tree branch kept it anchored
But luck was on our side. The string of the kite dangled between the branches, and very carefully, with Jaja giving directions, and the rest of us putting in our two cents, his Baba was able to maneuver the kite and after about half an hour of careful unwinding the kite was free. We shouted and jumped up and down, praised Baba for his careful mastery of detangling and freeing the kit; it was an elated moment for the entire family. We all felt vindicated, but more importantly we felt we had accomplished an arduous feat, and indeed we had. I was so proud of Jaja for his determination and insistence on retrieving his kite and getting us as a family to buy-into making it happen.
I remember that as one of our very special family adventures, of which we had many. We were all on one accord: to not stop until we get the kite, and get the kite we did. As we drove home, all three children exhausted and asleep even before we exited the Marina, I glanced at Jaja, with the kite tucked under his arm, and I knew that singular spirit of determination and our family working as one would serve us well in the future.
I always tell my children that together they are a fist, unbeatable. As long as they stick together and support one another (and I am confident that they are still being a fist), they will be able to track down any kite, and not allow it to get away.