Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Traditions Take Flight

The making of Christmas family traditions can happen from the most unexpected of circumstances. My second son has a birthday in July. Every year, his father buys him rockets or planes, something they can fly outside at the beach or the park. The first year, everyone got balsa wood planes and we launched them at the beach, having a contest. His father then lit bottle rockets as part of the celebration and a prescident was set.

The following summer, we had a Superman theme, complete with a Kryptonian rocket that floated back down into the grassy dunes several times before being lost at sea. Over the years, my son has received a 365 paper airplane calendar. I can't tell you how many helicopters I had to rescue from the second floor ledge. He's had do it yourself models that were light years beyond our ability to assemble. We've visited the Air and Space museum and fed his love of the sky with Starwars and Star Trek.

But the big gift that tickled his heart the most, was a remote controlled plane. It was big and blue and had four propellers.

There was a long lecture prior to going outside about how careful one had to be with this sort of toy; how flying a remote plane was difficult; how houses and trees and wires had to be avoided; and how wind could play a tricky part in landing a plane. My son listened carefully. Dad explained that he would test the plane first to better help our son with managing it. The plane soared beautifully. It was a thrilling sight. Then it landed on top of the tallest tree in our yard. Its first and only flight ended two minutes after it's start. My husband felt terrible. We tried everything to get it down. The plane finally crashed to Earth, a shell of it's former glory, a year later.

Undaunted, the next year, my son received two remote planes. One was black and had propellers in the back. The other was red and looked like a jet. My son lectured my father before trusting him to fly the red one while he tested the black. The red one flew beautifully again. One. Two. Three flights and then the sojourn into the back woods. We saw it disappear over the tree tops. The black one in the meantime, found the blue plane tree but we were able to knock it down through subsequent throws of soccer and footballs.

A neighborhood kid who also flies planes and launches rockets returned the red plane to us in early fall. It too, bore the scars of sitting through a season of elements in a tree.

Now my middle son often expresses himself through deeds rather than words. He's approached me about purchasing Dad his own propeller plane for Christmas. "But," he grinned, mischief in his eyes,"I get to test it first."

1 comment:

MightyMom said...

bwahahaha .... that there's a chip off the old block huh?

little stinker!

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