I opted not to go for the Reader's Choice after all- no offense to the emails, posts, etc, I received.
To summarize, my last blog basically explained that I had 10 million things on my mind, big, small, global, local, theoretical, yada, yada and couldn't focus enough to write a witty, insightful commentary on anything.
My resolution this year was to be more grateful. I could already feel 2011 sucking it out of me.
And then today I flew a kite with my son's 2nd grade class.
On Friday mornings, I volunteer in his classroom. I normally walk around, make sure no one hurts anybody, read a story or two, sharpen pencils, crack up his teacher and make faces at my son. I'm a giver like that.
Today, my son was working on a kite during their free time. He has really been into flying things lately (his latest goal is to study aerospace engineering at MIT. No joke.). Being a tech addict, I whipped out my EVO, Bing-ed "Kites for Kids", and we found a few different websites. Then I saw "Kites in the Classroom."
There was a link to Uncle Jonathan's website.
Sounded a tad pervy to be honest, but I clicked on the link:
"20 kids, 20 kites, 20 minutes"
Well, I just happened to be in a classroom with 20 kids who had 20 available free minutes.
Fortunately, his teacher was VERY open to the idea. It was Friday and let's face it, spring break is REALLLLLLY late this year. I whipped up one of the mini kites (all you need is paper, tape, string and we used a pencil in lieu of a coffee stirrer), she and I ran to the playground to test it, and it worked. Next thing I knew, I was showing 20 kids how to make 20 kites in 20 minutes.
What a hoot.
I am really good with my kids. I am, however, not very good with every child. I talk fast. I don't get quitting. And whining is a HUGE no no. This was a challenge for me. Fortunately, this was the reading class, so it was all the smart kids. They did well.
When his regular class switched back into the classroom, they saw the little kites and of course, they wanted to make some, too.
I offered to come back later to do it for the whole class. His teacher's response:
"Seriously? Um, YES."
2:30 on a Friday. I could have offered classroom tattooing.
I got "real" supplies which required a trip to Michael's craft store. I have many skills, crafting is not one of them. (I had no idea scrapbooking required so much crap. Is it crapbooking?) ANYHOW, I found some small dowels in the Wood Crafting Area (?) bought a bunch of extra stuff for the classroom and my daughter and I went back for our afternoon gig.
The more intellectually diverse class was a tad more difficult, but with my now expertise in the area, his teacher and I whipped those puppies out in 20 minutes. I even tried to explain the physics of kite flying a bit- the importance of lift, the tail for the drag... I threw in some historical facts (kites were used in the military, etc).. and before you're impressed, it's all from the "Kites in the Classroom" literature available on the American Kiteflyers Association website.
Once everyone's kite was finished we hit the field. The kids were in heaven. One little girl was a kite flying savant. The kids were laughing, kites were flying. They crashed into each other- because really, how fun is an activity until someone falls over? Strings were tangled. Kites dove. Kites soared.
It was a blast.
And as I stood and watched, it was fun.
It was the most fun that I'd had in the past few weeks.
It was pure joy.
I have always loved to fly kites. We lived on a circle when I was a kid and I would go to the field in the center and fly my kite for hours on end. It was relaxing. It was a little weird, but I never cared. I loved the reaction of people young and old when they would say, "Wow- look over there--- a kite!"
And now, I was able to pass it on and see people say "Wow- look over there- a field of kites!"
Something as simple and pure as a smiling kid flying a kite made the end of jumbled, noisy week, change course.
My kids had fun. I had fun. We were all in a good mood when my husband came home. We went out to Panera for dinner and were almost in tears from laughing so hard.
I can't fix the tsunami damage in Japan. I can't help the people in the middle east and Africa fight for their freedom. I can't lower the escalating costs of global food prices. I can't make the government more efficient. I can't help it if I'm on hold 5 hours a week. I can't fix health care. I can't fund public education.
I can be grateful and appreciative of all that I have, however, so that when the bad times do come my way, I can live on the joy that I have experienced and push through.
And when I have a hard time remembering that joy, I know that I can always go fly a kite to help me find it again.