Testing her Wings 2:11 PM

We kicked off our shoes and headed to the dunes.  The sand felt hot against the bottoms of our wave worn feet.  Above, the sun  shown brightly from a pristine blue sky making this a wonderful day for my daughter to try her hand at hang gliding.

Nerves tinged her conversation with me as she flitted and flew over the hot sand.  As the crew assembled and set up the kite, she took her place amidst the kids without a second thought.  When the team leader called for a volunteer to take the first flight, her hand flew into the air as if it were on wings of its own. 

I had to smile.  Whether it is dancing on stage or hanging from a rope feet in the air, my kid is first in line letting her love of life and experience tamper her nerves. 

She hung from the rope beneath the kite.

She put her hands at the bar.

She yelled “clear” without a waver in her voice. 

She took her first running steps and…

Off the dune she went!

I smiled with delight – my heart taking flight with her.  Delight crossed her face as she landed, on her feet, on the sand below.  Laughter bubbled forth as she raced the instructors up the dune to take her second flight. 

“She looked like she loved it,” the television reporter commented. 

“Oh, she did!”

For the next hour, I watched my daughter getting the feel for hang gliding.  She told the reporter about her nerves, her excitement, and the joy of flight.  She didn’t complain about the time between flights or engage in the criticism expressed by the boys in her group.  Rather, she ran, laughed, played with the instructors, and flew!

My daughter never ceases to amaze me.  My heart thrilled with her enthusiasm and her never ending determination to fly and enjoy the experience.  This child teaches me so much – I wonder if all parents experience this wonder and the exchange of teaching and learning with their kids?

A few months ago I would have grabbed my mobile phone and dialed eagerly sharing this child, this love, and her experience with my best friend.  I would have talked 100 miles a minute and filled his ears with my descriptions and thoughts and emotions hoping to paint him a picture of the experience unfolding in those moments.  Sharing that love with my best friend always enriched the experience for me – whether it meant anything to him or not – I don’t know! 

Now, as I stood on the hot sand under these gorgeous blue skies absorbing the brilliance of the sun coupled with the enthusiasm of my daughter, I felt a shiver in my heart.  I can no longer pick up the phone and share this love and these experiences with my best friend; I no longer have a best friend. 

I pulled the experience close around me to warm me.  The realization that I no longer had a best friend with whom I could share my daughter and such moments as this rocked my world, if only for just a moment. 

Right here, right now, my daughter soared down dunes.  Under colorful kite wings, she experienced flight in a way that only she could. 

I may have shed a few – just a few- tears… for the wonder that is my daughter, for the gift of such a wonderful experience for her and for me, for the realization that my best friend is truly no longer available to share this love with me, and for the simple beauty of life and all that awaits.

As my daughter lifted her feet to fly, we each looked to the future and all that awaits.  There will be more flights, many more experiences, and much more laughter.  There will be more tears as well, but like today, we will each continue to cherish each moment and live it fully – whether that is with our feet on the ground or whether we are supported by our wings!