Brighter Things is Steven Jackson, an Alabama-based songwriter making music and words fit together so life might make more sense.  Music released here, free, weekly-ish. Sign up to get notifications of new songs & videos.

The Wings! The Wings! The Wings!

The Wings! The Wings! The Wings!

My kids have this adorable habit of spreading their arms as wide as possible in photos.

And since I'm, strangely, obsessed with birds, it's clear my babies are just showing me they are capable of taking flight at any time. They're only humoring me by standing still long enough for me to fail at capturing their wild spirit in the frame. They know they are not mine to tame. I'm for giving shelter, food and modeling enough courage to let them jump.

My daughter is shy, anxious and shrinks in social situations so, naturally, I'm prone to worry. But in her photos from the past year, she seems especially determined to stretch wide – to occupy the biggest space in the world that she possibly can.

Side note: She was born skinny – with pronounced shoulder blades that I joked were little hinges where wings were attached before she came to us. For the past 8 years, she's maintained this bedtime ritual where she insists that I kiss her upper back before she can fall asleep. I imagine I'm Daddy-kiss-healing wounds from where birth tried to humble her saying, "You are only human now. Bound to land. No more wings for you." She knows that's bullshit so she'll make her own damn wings. Did I mention she is also super "strong willed"?

Last week I peeked through a crack in her bedroom door as she danced and leaped through the air to Taylor Swift songs. She did it again this week on an unseasonably warm winter night in our front yard. And she let us watch. I see that, despite her nervous tendencies to stay close to the nest, she's secretly a flier. And she'll be a better one because she's had to work at it.

Every time I ask her to be still for a photo she smiles politely, opens her unfeathered wings and gives me a a reassuring glimpse of the flight she's been practicing.

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