Friday, 17 June 2011

Up Up and Away

I am in the playground with my daughter. I stand watching while she climbs up the rope structure to the top before standing in the crow’s nest waving. Shielding my eyes against the sun I wave back with my other hand. Very good I mouth. I’m impressed. It’s a long way up and I know I’d be feeling a little sick up there and worrying about the journey back down.

Journeys are like that; they can seem more frightening in advance than they end up being. I think of all the playgrounds I’ve watched my daughter play in; all the different versions of her. The toddler; the schoolgirl; and now the confident seven-year old with a lop-sided smile which can make me gulp. I’d never have been able to imagine it all that time ago. It would have seemed an impossibly long way away.

My daughter nimbly climbs down and we walk home through the park, past a field where a hot-air balloon is taking off. We watch hand-in-hand in silence as the blower sends rasping gusts of hot air into the mouth of the canopy and it quivers and taughtens. When it is ready to leave, the ropes are released and the smiling customers rise slowly into the sky, waving, at whom I don’t know. We wave back until their faces are no longer visible. Until we’re waving at nothing.

My daughter’s very excited and bounces up and down, saying how much she’d like to go for a balloon ride. I tell her I’m not so sure; it’s a long way up. ‘Ohhh,’ she says and I have that feeling that I’ve let her down. Like I do in those moments when she’s sad, just before she goes to sleep, when things can seem dark and difficult and she misses the people she loves.

The moment of disappointment over, she grasps my hand and we head for home.

13 comments:

American in Bath said...

I wonder if it really is disappoint in you. It's been a very long time since I was a little girl, but I think I remember those looks. Surely it is disappointment, but I am almost certain that the disappointment comes from being reminded that nothing is so easy as it should be.

Jan said...

Wise words from an American in Bath! SEnding best wishes SAHD.

Stay at home dad said...

Wise words indeed... thanks and hello to you both..
Sahd

Cassandra McCann said...

I'm sure one day when you're daughter is older she'll look back at that time and not remember disappointment but rather she'll have a happy memory, because she'll always remember the time she saw the hot air balloon with her Dad. : )

American in Bath said...

I hope that things have settled a bit.

paul said...

Disappointment is part of life, and even little girls understand that their fathers are not infallible - however their love is unconditional, so it matters not !

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Maggie May said...

Your daughter will cherish those moments with you and they will be lasting memories when she grows up. Sounded a day of fun.

I am pretty sure your daughter would not be allowed up in a hot air ballon until she is older ....... and much taller. Health & safety & all that!
Maggie X

Nuts in May.

Livvy U. said...

Hello SAHD, I know I'm late, as ever, with my comment, but I'm visiting old haunts and find a post from you I haven't read before.

I know that before-sleep battle with sadness with Anna-mouse so well.

Do write again, well I'm supposing you are, other things.

Livvy

knittingdad said...

I agree with American in Bath -- She may understand that she'll have higher crow's nests to reach before the hot air balloon. It's okay for some challenges to be further off :)

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Stay at home dad said...

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Sahd