When I was a little girl, there were only two things I wanted—a puppy and a trampoline. My parents eventually gave in and bought me a puppy, but the trampoline was a lost cause. My mother lived in constant fear that one of her children would get hurt. As a result, anything that carried even the slightest degree of risk was strictly off-limits. I remember her telling me stories of children who had broken their necks on their backyard trampolines. I also remember that these stories had little influence on my eight-year-old brain. I still wanted a trampoline and I had absolutely no fear of a broken neck. But it was not meant to be, and so I somehow managed to survive childhood with a puppy and without a trampoline.
Fast forward twenty-five years and I am now my mother, though I like to think not nearly as neurotic. My own daughter, now eight years old, has been asking for a puppy. We already have a dog, and I am not inclined to add to the chaos at this point in time. But I have another idea, and I ask my daughter if she would like to have a trampoline. She is ecstatic. So am I. We head out and buy the biggest trampoline we can find. I also buy the safety netting and realize that my mother has taken up a permanent residence inside my head.
Months later the trampoline is still the highlight of our backyard—and it is a family affair. The kids and I spend hours at a time jumping, spinning, and flipping through the air. I am making up for lost time. And while I am confident that my daughter would survive childhood with a trampoline and without a puppy, I know I will give in to the puppy sooner or later. But for now, I am just going to bounce.