Weekend Column:

May 12, 2014 by

Years ago, before any of the SONS of Thunder had hit double digits, we got them a trampoline.

Said trampoline came complete with a safety net – a big mesh contraption that completely surrounded the trampoline and went up about six feet. It was tied at the bottom around the springs and at the top to big metal brackets.

Said brackets were of course padded, as were the springs. There was only one entrance, which was accessed by unzipping a small section of the net and then rezipped once everyone was in.

About as safe as you could get. They spent hours and hours jumping and jumping with all the neighborhood kids.

Of course the Little Black Dress had to come up with safety rules – no wrestling, no jumping on each other, no running into the net and using it as a springboard to smash into another kid.

A life observation: tell a bunch of young boys not to do something, turn your back and that’s exactly what they will do. What you told them not to do, I mean. About every 10 minutes there would be a scream, because one kid jumped on another, one put another in a headlock, one used the netting as a springboard to launch into another kid and flatten them.

And the SONS and their friends had a blast. Think WWF cage fight with only one left standing and you get the picture.

As the years passed, the trampoline went the way of other toys. Instead of being relegated to the back of some closet, we moved it deeper into the woods. Time and weather took their toll. The netting started rotting and what was left of it was held together with zip ties.

And life went on and the trampoline just sat.

Until last week.

Eldest SON zipped past me while the LBD and I were sitting in the backyard. He had a broom in his hand and was soon sweeping off about eight years worth of leaves off the trampoline. The two other SONS soon followed, joined by a couple of neighborhood kids within minutes.

What was left of the netting was yanked down and the jumping began. You would have thought they were archeologists who just discovered some ancient temple. For years that trampoline just set there. Now, all of a sudden, it’s like a brand new gizmo.

My only rule was no throwing anyone off the trampoline. The Dress did not think that sufficient enough in terms of safety rules and let them, and me, know it.

I asked her if she thought they needed safety goggles and helmets. She poured her drink over my head.

She was not happy about the loss of the safety net. And she started coming up with a list of rules and … just stopped in mid-rule.

“If they get hurt, it’s your fault,” she said as she started walking inside.

We looked at each other and thought the same thing. The trampoline’s safety net is no more. The SONS are getting older. They can handle the trampoline without one.

The SONS are getting older. And various safety nets we have put up in their lives are disappearing.

The SONS are getting older. Soon, too soon, they will leave the safety net of our home, head off to college, start a career, get married, have kids.

I look forward to jumping with my grandkids – and breaking all my kids’ safety rules.


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