Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Dragonfly Kite

It was a cool April afternoon. Daddy and I were getting ready to take you to the Georgetown Kite Festival.  Mommy and Daddy couldn't wait to do fun family things like this with you. 

As Daddy finished packing the car to leave, you did something big.  We had been practicing and waiting so long for you to do it all by yourself.  Finally, at thirteen months, you took your first wobbly steps outside on the driveway. 

When we got to the kite festival the big open field was full of kids and families flying kites of many sizes and colors.  We came prepared with your great great grandma Mammy's purple quilt and some snacks to share.   We knew you would enjoy just being outside and playing with your good friends, Jacob and Lucas. Mommy knew it didn't matter to you that we had no kite. 
Kaden & Lucas April 2010

Daddy thought otherwise. Daddy always loved to teach you how to do all kinds of things.  Flying a kite was one more thing he looked forward to.  So at the festival, Daddy got you a pretty blue kite with a dragonfly.

That day, Mommy and Daddy took turns trying to get that kite to fly. There wasn't much of a breeze, so we did our best to run up and down the field with the kite trailing behind.  We think it spent more time dragging the ground than up in the sky.  As exhausting as it was, it was worth the smile on your face.

A few months later, you and Daddy went out to the front yard to try to fly your kite again.  It was the perfect day - clear and windy.  You stood by Daddy's side. The wind took your kite up higher and higher. You pointed up as it flew.  Mommy imagines Daddy doing little tricks to impress you.  What a good day and a sweet memory for you and your daddy to share.

That memory was just two weeks before you passed away.   After you were gone, Daddy put your kite downstairs with all the other things that you would no longer use. 

Last month Mommy and Daddy went on vacation with some of our friends and their families.  We were prepared to have mixed emotions about being with our usual group of friends and their kids without you.  Just like the first set of holidays we spent that first year without you, Mommy and Daddy have learned to anticipate that some experiences will be more difficult than others. This "first" was another we were prepared to work through.
Layne May 2012

It was the second full day of our vacation and it just so happened to also be your special day.  It was the 11th.  As Mommy does every morning, I woke up thinking of you.  I smiled remembering all the fun we had on our vacation with you to the Outer Banks. Mommy and Daddy made plans on your day to take Layne to the beach.  This would be Layne's first day at the beach and Daddy thought it would be the perfect day to fly your special kite. 

Mommy and Daddy loaded up the baskets of our rented bikes, strapped on Layne's helmet and seat belt, and headed that way.   Mommy and Daddy laid out our beach blanket just a few yards from the water.

After Mommy and Daddy took turns playing in the waves with Layne, we headed to our spot on the beach.  Daddy pulled your special dragonfly kite from our bag and walked toward the back of the beach away from the crowds of people.  Layne and I stayed near our blanket and played in the sand.  It took no time before Mommy saw Daddy flying your kite so high.  Daddy seemed so glad to see it fly again. 
Kaden's Kite

With Layne's hands in mine, we walked a few yards over to where Daddy was standing, leaving our things behind.  Mommy pointed up in the sky for Layne to see and then sat her down to play in the sand again.  I told Daddy I would be right back, that I was going to grab our things and move closer so we could watch.  Leaving Layne behind, Mommy ran back. 

When I returned just a few seconds later, I saw Daddy standing with Layne in his arms.  Her entire face was covered in sand.

"I had to let go." he said.

"The kite.  I had to let go."

As I had turned away to gather our things, your baby sister had tried to crawl.  On the unsteady sand, she fell forward, face first.  At that exact moment Daddy glanced down to see her face down, struggling and kicking her legs.  In an instant Daddy had to make a decision:  let go of your special kite or rescue your baby sister.  Daddy let go and the wind carried your kite away.   It was gone.

For over an hour that day Mommy and Daddy searched for your kite.  Everyday for the rest of our trip our eyes would comb the beach for a dragonfly kite just in case someone found it.  What was supposed to be a happy way of including you in our vacation became the most disappointing part. 

Losing your kite that week felt like losing more of you.  To anyone else, that kite was just a piece of plastic.  To Mommy and Daddy that kite was a reminder of the day you took your first steps and the time you and Daddy shared together in the front yard.

It took awhile, but Mommy and Daddy learned something important after letting your kite go that day.  We learned that there are times we want so desperately to hang on to the things of the past.  And there are times when it's also okay to let go.  Only then can we begin to live in the present again.

We love you, baby girl, and hold you close to our hearts always...