There are perfectly legit reasons why I have a bad memory.
Some events should just be chalked up to rotten parenting and blacked out.
We got our family a massive 16’ diameter trampoline one Christmas. We set it up in the center of the yard, with a direct view from the kitchen window. There were no obstacles around it; not a safety containment net or a foam protector over the springs.
I was a strict mom with plenty of “rules” which more than made up for it.
1. Ask mom before jumping so she can supervise from the kitchen. This way, when the boy is in mid-air and she goes to check the spaghetti, she won’t notice that he landed. On his back. On the hard-packed weedy ground full of gopher holes. With the wind knocked out of him. He will lie there and not be able to call for help while mom assumes he’s on the way in from playing. Not.
2. No more than two jumpers at a time. I’m standing right there ringside while my son and his cousin are jumping. The eight-year-olds go up together smiling. They come down together crying. I saw their heads bump but as they got no more than two feet up, it appeared minor. “Where does it hurt?” I ask my son. He points to a bump on the top of his head where blood has begun to trickle. “Where does it hurt?” I ask the cousin. He opens his mouth. There between his two front teeth are my son’s hairs. He bit him. I make the appropriate warm fuzzy mom noises for everybody. And my son got two staples in his head.
3. No flips. The only choice here is to go up and down. The Freedom Flight was their alternative flirt with death. You sit a person in the middle and propel him upwards with a mighty jump next to them. Knees and bums and shoulders take a bouncing, but once in a while you get someone large (ahem, Hubby) to perform the launch and you get someone smaller (ahem, kid) rising six feet up then doing a belly flop that doesn’t involve water. Your wild laughter is balanced nicely with the grim certainty that said kid has a broken neck.
4. No dashing under the trampoline while others are jumping on top of it. Obvious? Maybe. Tempting? Without a doubt. Because they did it. They slid across the top of it in socks and ran around giving static shocks to each other that once short-circuited our phone. They slid each other across it and got rug burns. They crawled all over and caught legs and feet and clothes in the springs playing “Marco Polo”. Towards the end (which is when I just started looking the other way) they dropped onto it from our tree or off of it into the pool.
5. One fateful afternoon, as the trampoline entered it’s final year, I decided “if you can’t beat em, join em” and climbed up there to jump. Three bounces in…let’s just say my youthful mind was in the clouds, and the rest of me reached for the security of terra firma. Gravity was much stronger than I remembered and my body no longer wished to defy it.
All you have to do is watch an episode of “AFV” to understand. Most of their horrifying video clips involve trampolines. We had giant springs randomly cut loose and a small hole in the center of the jumper grew steadily wider as the beast aged in the sun.
I was very happy to finally send it away.
And we are never, ever, ever getting back together.