It’s been many, many years since I’ve jumped on a trampoline. But yesterday I had the opportunity to do it vicariously through our youngest granddaughter, Sierra. I was asked to accompany her on her pre-school field trip to the local trampoline park. And joy of joys – we had it all to ourselves.
Sierra and her compatriots wasted no time in shedding their shoes, tearing up the steps, hair and giggles flying, to test their running and jumping skills. BOING-G-G. Well, how much fun is this? For about a half hour their high energy continued until each section of the room had been thoroughly tested. And then – along came a giant.
Tall, stocking feet, bright orange vest. One of two workers that day. His weapons neon green balls and bright orange ones. Gathering them under his arms he stepped into the arena. And there he began pelting the kids with those (very soft) balls. Pow! Bam! Gotcha!
Small heads turned. Hey! What was this? An adult who wanted to play? The shock and then sheer delight at the idea soon went off like a cartoon light bulb in each little noggin. Guess what? We’re going to throw those balls right back at this big guy. Woo. Hoo.
Up until that point it was all about the other kids. Competition. Who can jump highest. Who can run up the trampoline wall the furthest. But now they had a common target. He was big. He was laughing. He was eyeballing their backs and they were loving it.
“I got him!” A five-year-old tank of a little boy yelled.
“Ha, Ha,” Sierra screeched as she made her mark, blonde curls swirling.
“Look out!” A warning to a fellow fighter to duck.
And on it went until they had him down on the mat pummeling him like the Lilliputians they were. Poor Gulliver. They only lacked ropes to finish the job. It was glorious to behold.
Things calmed down after that but it made me realize how much our children need us. Other kids are fine, but really, it’s the grown ups they idolize. When they glance back to see if we’re watching – we need to be watching. When a lip is pushed out and tears are pending - we need to have hugs and kisses ready. We must feed them, often with treats (soul food). We must shelter them – sometimes right under our own covers when we’re weary beyond belief. We must clothe them, even when we are not crazy about their choices.
They’re watching us, these kids. They want to be us someday. They learn how to love – or not – from us. If you’re in an adventuresome relationship with a little someone, take that roll to heart. Throw balls at them. Let them throw them back. Be big and tall and fun. Be strong and soft and accepting right up to the day you must let them go.
Perhaps then, if we manage all this, the world could be healed. Gulliver would like to think so.
Image: Free Digital Photos