I can still remember it all just like it was about six minutes ago.
I held my daughter in my arms and I did the little checklist off in my head to make sure she was ready for it.
Holds her head up on her own? Check.
Seems to like a thrill and a laugh? Check.
Appears reasonably hardy and durable? Check.
Everything seemed alright. I ran through the list again, pulling her close enough to me that I could feel her breath on my rough cheek. It all checked out once more. There was no turning back now. We were cleared for take-off.
I held my arms straight out in front of my chest and she went with them. She smiled at me. I returned it. I was so nervous that I was shaking a little bit, although looking back now I guess maybe that was First Time Daddy Jitters, huh? Well, the time had come…something I had long knew I was going to have to do, but it isn’t all that easy when you’re holding a twelve pound ball of angel in your arms and you need to chuck her back up towards Heaven, you dig?
“Hey Mama Bear,” I whispered into her beaming face,” You wanna go for a ride?”
I bit my lip and before she could even make one of her ishkibibble answers I toss her towards the sun. Her smile disappeared instantly and by the time she landed back in my grabby hands there was a look of uncertain terror creeping across her blushy cheeks. But, for whatever reason, I didn’t back down. Up she went again. And this time, by the time she came back falling into my grip, her whole face had erupted into big big happiness.
I was saved!
It was working!
The oldest trick in the daddy book was working!
Since that day three years ago, I’ve tossed Violet and her little brother Henry skyward more times than I can count. And every single time we do it it’s as exciting and cool as that first day. I think that’s because I find that Air Kids are at about their absolute happiest when they are up there in the blue blue sky, flying around like a bird, feeling themselves lifting off from gravity/Earth/Dad. It’s their first sip of life’s little cocktail, when a bit of danger mixed with a bit of thrill gets all stirred up with a twist of love.
It’s a time honored tradition is what it is. Daddies throwing kiddos at the sky is about as good as it gets. Out there in the yard or standing on the beach, wherever it goes down, you and I both know that there are going to be a lot of sweet sweet giggles floating on the breeze.
Because that’s what flying does.
Here’s a look at what I’m talking about.
Up Up And Away 1 of 20There is just something special about tossing a kid into the sky.
Flying 2 of 20Something happens to them. And to us. They are flying and their faces show it. And their smiles seem to always bring on ours too.
Bird Child 3 of 20Tossing your little baby into the sky for the first time is a rite of parental passage.
Air Traffic Control 4 of 20Hearing your kid laugh after a short flight, we are reminded of how much they really depend on us to help them lift off. And to help them touch back down.
Smiling Eyes 5 of 20Of course, watching their little faces, their beaming smiles is what it's all about.
Time Stands Still 6 of 20When your kid is in the air and your breath is in a holding pattern down in your lungs, you're both so tune into each other that it almost seems like magic, huh?
Nothing New 7 of 20With all of the distractions surrounding our lives today, it's just nice to share some moments with our kids that are exactly the same types our fathers and grandfathers all shared long ago.
Two Way Street 8 of 20Kids love the air, being tossed up towards the sun and the stars by someone they love and trust. But make no mistake about it, there are usually big smiles on the faces of the ones doing the tossing too.
Connected 9 of 20At some point during a kid toss session, our eyes usually connect with our mighty flyer's eyes. And it's then that we feel such a wild connection with them. We are just swept up in their overwhelming happiness.
Perfect Pics 10 of 20And let's admit it. Tossing our kids skyward usually allow for at least a couple of very cool photos, right?
Come Sail Away With Me 11 of 20Some people might say that tossing our babes towards the sky for a laugh and a smile is risky. But don't listen to them. People all over the world are doing it. And kids all over the globe are loving it. And who's gonna argue with that logic?
Just The Three Of Us 12 of 20Sometimes the whole family gets involved and the rules change just a bit. But never fear. The smiles always stick around.
You Can Count On Me 13 of 20Throwing our kids up at the sky is one way of letting them know that, no matter how scary or thrilling stuff gets, we'll always be there to help them down gently.
Duets 14 of 20If on occasion you find yourself sharing the high-flying moment with another kid thrower...well, consider yourself lucky. Because two laughing whippersnappers are better than one.
Please Relase Me 15 of 20Nothing stems the incoming tides of boredom or excess energy like a good couple of blast offs from daddy's arms. A few deep breaths, some hardy chuckles, a squeal or two, and all of that built up kid steams just melts away.
Things Unseen 16 of 20Although there are big smiles and shining eyes whenever we are chucking the kid at the heavens, there is also something even bigger and better. Because there is just a strangely awesome feeling that comes over us when we are tucked up in their little arm pits/then there is nothing/then there is their heft again. It's impossible to really describe, but these guys in these pictures know what I'm talking about. It's magic, I guess.
Summertime 17 of 20Summertime is coming now. It'll be here any day. So make sure you get out there in the yard or on the beach. Wherever. Just make time for the kids. And help them fly for a while.
Memory 18 of 20I don't remember much about my dad from when I was little. Not much at all, I'm afraid. But I remember him throwing me into the air and catching me in his hard arms. I guess that says it all right there, doesn't it?
Henry Cloudsplitter 19 of 20When my Henry goes up his face goes giddy and I can feel his whole body thrusting back skyward the second he returns to my arms. He doesn't want it to end, and when it does (and sadly it always does) he is never happy about it.
Violet Skywalker 20 of 20When my Violet takes flight, her smile cannot stop. And if I try and take a rest, lay her down to the ground for a second, she throws herself back at my knees, trying to climb up my skin...to take off again and again and again.
You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.
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