The boys’ uncle sent them a trampoline for Christmas. Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to build outdoor toys. The weather is finally warm enough to play outside; enough months have passed since Christmas to make it seem like a brand new gift; and parents have an extra day to recover from the trauma of assembly.
This trifecta of perfect timing was marred only by my being sick. I had just your garden variety virus, but my throbbing head and weak limbs did not feel like trampoline-building.
This did not stop my wife for a moment. If I couldn’t do it, she would. I begged her to hold off, but she was a woman with a plan, and that plan involved happily bouncing children. All I had to do was bring up the box from the basement.
Rather than stand in the way of a mother’s goals, I did as asked. Then, I entertained Big Man in the sun room as Mommy and the older boys exited to the back yard.
She did a good job building, but a trampoline, with all its required tautness, presents a struggle for any individual builder. By the time two female neighbors had come to check on her, I realized I had to abandon this being sick business.
I’m sure the neighbors saw me moping around in the back room. I’m also sure my wife explained my infirm state to them. But I’ve read enough mommy blogs to know that when a wife tells her friends her husband is sick, she rolls her eyes. I also know the friends take any husband’s illness as code for, “He’s faking so he doesn’t have do any man work.”
I took Big Man out to help Mommy. With two adults working, we finished the job without much trouble. The worst part was keeping track of the two pages of instructions among the 20 pages of safety guidelines. On the plus side, that was 20 pages of booklet we could ignore.
I did notice one headline in the safety area. It was accompanied by picture of two stick figures bumping heads, complete with pain lines radiating from the skulls. It was a funny picture, accompanied by a ridiculous admonition: “Only one person should be on the trampoline.” The entire family had a good laugh over this one. Why didn’t they just tell us to take it apart and put it back in the basement? One person at a time? How could that be fun?
Yes, they were likely to bump heads, and yes, that might hurt for a minute, but hadn’t I just risen from my deathbed to make this fun possible?
They went two and three at a time. They crashed into each other in all kinds of hilarious ways, and they all got over it. Because it was fun. Because sometimes fun comes with bumps and bruises. Because we’re not the kind to make trampoline memories; we make Thunderdome memories.