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Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Blog, May 18, 2020: “Kite Flying During Covid 19”

We awoke to a cold and windy day in northern New Hampshire. Grateful that the pouring rain was not snow, as they had predicted the late April nor’easter to drop 6-12 inches potentially. We decided to take the kids kite flying on the first day of our spring staycation. Initially, I had not seen the point of continuing to honor April vacation since no one could go anywhere, do anything, or see anyone beyond one’s quarantine family. However, as a teacher, I’m used to moving around my classroom and students and have not grown accustomed to being on a computer so much. My eyes and back physically needed the break more than my mental or emotional state. Truthfully, I wanted Geoff to say, “Honey, why don’t you stay home, curl up with your book, and I’ll take the kids by myself over to the Loon parking lot to fly their kites.”

Guess what. He did not say that. Instead, he said, “I think the fresh air (despite driving in a wind and rainstorm) will be good for all of us.” That’s my husband. So, we loaded up the family and our kites and headed across town. I may have rolled my eyes. Maybe more than once. Just being honest here. The kids were game, though, so I pretended to be as is normal parent behavior. As soon as we parked the family Subaru, Geoff set up their kites, and they hardly felt the same pelting rain and wind as their mom, still feeling the loss of my book and warm couch.Krill family kite day

However, kites are cool for a lot of reasons. Ever fly one as a kid? That feeling when the wind takes a hold and the power translates right on down to your wrist holding onto the handle with the twine or whatever kind of string harnessed the design of cloth on the other end. My husband loves kite flying and flew many in his childhood. This might be the one sport I pretend I don’t know anything about so that Geoff has to be one to untangle knots, redirect the toss, etc. He is our resident kite flying expert, and it’s an easy activity from his wheelchair.

Except today, he had to put the brakes on his chair or Mother Nature’s gale force 40-50 mile per hour winds would have pushed-pulled him all over the lot in his wheelchair. The winter debris of sand and rocks and cracked pavement would have caused a terrible fall no doubt. So, he stayed at the home base next to the vehicle, and our 8 and 10-year-old ran circles around him with their kites, happily. Occasionally, I had to reset a kite, but it was pretty fun despite the cold wind and rain.

As we can never travel anywhere without our son’s scooter and helmet, he attached the kite to his handlebars and was yelling, “Dad, check it out, it’s electric power!”He was ripping across the parking lot powered by the wind in his sails, excitement palpable. “Dad, Dad, let’s hook both of our kites to your wheelchair, and you can carry us across like a sailboat!” It was as if he had invented the power of wind. Geoff just laughed and zipped his coat a little higher. We might have stayed out there for hours had our daughter’s kite not busted after one too many hard crashes. Sharing a kite with one’s brother is not ideal. Parenting in a pandemic life lesson #418.Geoff Krill flying kite

A normal April vacation takes the kids and me on a road trip generally to visit college friends or family living within a day of car travel. I was hoping to do the Big Apple with the kids for the first time with a side of Gettysburg Civil War Battlefield but stay at home orders postponed road trip adventures for another year. A normal April generally takes Geoff out west to Copper Mountain or Big Sky for the PSIA National Demonstration Team Training, skiing, etc. Nothing about this spring has been normal, nor do we know when that kind of normal returns. Until then, I highly recommend flying some kites on a windy day. We could do without the driving rainstorm, but we sometimes need a little wind power to pick up our sails. Our cheeks were pink, our coats were drenched, and our little souls were refreshed with the magic of a little wind power, a cloth shark and butterfly.

Heather Ehrman Krill is a writer- wife- teacher-mom who lives in the White Mountains of NH with her husband, Geoff, a paraplegic and professional skier, and their two children, Carver and Greta who are 10 and 8. Please check out her novel True North, website www.heatherkrill.com, author FB page Heather Krill, and @heatherkrill1 on Twitter.

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