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.
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