Sunday, 26 April 2015

Hell Did Not Freeze Over, But We Got a Trampoline Anyway

    I've said this many times, but I will say it again... I'm a bubble wrap parent.  If I could prevent my children from ever feeling pain I would.  I was most firm in feelings about trampolines, still am.  The Canadian and American Pediatric Societies have both strongly discouraged the purchase of home trampolines because of all the injuries they cause.  It seemed like every other family in the world had one, and we were the only jerks (ok specifically me) who said no.

    I kind of had visions of the Simpson's trampoline episode.....

    For many, many years now I have denied my children the joy of jumping and breaking bones... I know I suck.  Here's the thing that I know that you may not, it only takes a second for your entire world to crumble.  I never in a million years thought that I who gave birth to strong, healthy children could have one healthy, robust child die.  It happened on such an ordinary day.  I know that life is unexpected, and I feel as if it's my job to protect them... and to protect me from heartache.  

    You may wonder why when I have denied my children what they feel is a basic human right to a trampoline, do you see happy little faces bouncing on said toy?  The reason is simply I gave it some thought.  

    As a child my sister and I would climb to the top of our barn and jump into the straw below.  There could have been any number of horrid things in that straw, and yet we survived.  I honestly cringe thinking about the things that my sister and I did.  We grew up in the 70's.  It was a time when children explored, and were allowed to explore.  We built forts with nails and old bits of wood.  "When" not "if" we stood on a nail or smashed our fingers with a hammer we went for our tetanus shot, just that simple.  We walked off injuries.  I shudder honestly to think of the things that we did (crawling through culverts, ect, ect).  If it seemed like a good idea, we did it.  We never checked with our parents to see if we could, we just did.... I have a few scars to prove it, but I survived.  I survived, and that ability to explore helped to make me who I am.  I learned through trial and error.  Now I am not for even half a second suggesting that I would ever in a million, trillion years allow my children to jump off the roof of a barn into sketchy straw.... but I need to let them explore.

    Right now I am working on letting them have some freedom.  It sounds funny to say it, but honestly it is really tough.  I have to quiet that voice in the back of my head that screams "Life is fragile, hold your babies tight".  We lost our Gabe, it was a car accident.  There was black ice, there was a deer, there were other people driving just too fast... it was an accident.  I was taking my two children to see a movie, that is not a risky activity.  Bad things happen to good people.  It's up to the good people to decide how they will deal with it.

    For a long time I held my babies in close, suffocatingly close.  The pain of loosing my child was so real, so new, so raw.  I was afraid to let them out of my sight.  Over the years I have allowed my iron grip to loosen a little bit each year.  No matter how hard I want it, no matter how hard I try,  I do not have the control over life and death.  I cannot prevent my children being hurt, I can lesson the odds, but in the end it is outside of my control.  What is in my control is to allow them the freedom to make choices and maybe get hurt.  If they are hurt it's my job to hold them, and make them feel my love, and encourage them to make more choices, some of which might imply getting hurt.

Rowan opted to wear Pj's all day

    So here I sit, the owner of a trampoline, against my better judgement.  They might get hurt, oh who am I kidding they are my kids, they will get hurt.  Sometimes life is filled with bumps and bruises, that's just part of it.  I need to let them get hurt.  I can control some of it.  We have a one at a time rule.  We bought a trampoline that came with a safety enclosure.  We have a rule that there has to be someone out watching.  It's the best that I can do.  I need to let them take risks, safe risks.  I need to let them get hurt, have scars (and cool or goofy stories to go along with those scars).  Life is about taking risks and reaping the rewards or learning from it.
    In the end, bad things happen to good people.  We do not know what lies around the corner for ourselves or for those we love, this I know.  What I do know is that we should live in the now, squeeze every single bit of joy out of it and store it for a time when we need it.  Bask in the good, and realize that the bad just shows us how good the good is, because without the bad, we cannot appreciate the good.  Taking risks and learning from them is an important part of life.
    The trampoline has brought a lot of joy so far.  I love the looks on their faces, that unimpeded, absolute joy. It's great exercise and it keeps the kids away from the electronics and in the fresh air.  They might get hurt, but then they might get hurt doing anything, life is uncertain.  I need to remember that and let them have their childhood.


  1. Giving our children to explore safely is difficult for all parents. One of my favourite books is by a Canadian journalist Carl Honore called Under Pressure. It talks about our current state of hyper parenting (not suggesting you are doing this but that it was great food for thought for me as a parent). Enjoy the journey Canadian friend. Cheers

  2. freedom....forgot the word freedom...LOL

  3. I’m sorry to hear about the tragic accident you were in. But for what it’s worth, I think you’re doing a great job on dealing and handling your kids. It’s very difficult for parents to see their children in the midst of danger, let alone have them involved in it. I admire you for having the strength to go through it. Thanks for sharing this with us. Take care!

    Jerry Brady @ Lambert And Williams