My boys were off school Friday and because physical activity is their love language, we went to a giant warehouse filled with trampolines. We call these sorts of outings “Mommy-Charlie-Kippy Time” and, on this day, we were going to make it count.
“Are you going to jump, too?” the woman behind the counter asked me.
“I totally am,” I replied, maybe too enthusiastically. She raised an eyebrow and gave me a free wristband.
We walked extra fast to the shoe cubbies, removed coats and gloves and boots and socks, and then the three of us, holding hands, skipped up the stairs to the 6 & under section.
We were all so excited. Mommy-Charlie-Kippy Time translation: We party.
We started jumping. Charlie threw balls at my torso and cackled. I chased Kip and he guffawed. We had the space mostly to ourselves, so we went all out. Big, arms-flapping-in-the-air jumps. Spins in midair. Pink cheeks. A neverending game of dodge ball. Belly laughs. Funny faces. Ninja kicks. Lots and lots of ninja kicks.
I was the only parent jumping like a kid and, weeell, I admit it felt a little funny. Most of the other moms and dads sat on the bench with their phones and their Starbucks, a role I myself have nailed many a time. But not this time. I made the decision to engage in a major way with my sons, to meet them where they were and to relish the time with them.
I got a few glares. I got a few stares. It seemed to help when I jumped with my back to the gallery. (Looking back, I kinda can’t believe I subjected those moms, dads and nannies to all that full-frontal jumping for as long as I did. Poor souls.)
I considered bowing out and telling the boys I was going to hit the sidelines with the rest of the parents, but it’d been a while since my teeth got so dry from smiling that my lips stuck to them. How long do you have to smile before your teeth go bone dry, I wonder? All I know is that, in one hour of jumping, I smiled that long a lot of times.
So I kept jumping. Because my kids were giddy. And because they couldn’t get enough of leading me to the far corner to show me their trick jumps. And because, together, we were experiencing mega pleasurable depths of joy and connection.
And so, despite my assumption that bouncing tatas were not a fan favorite among moms in Lululemon, I kept on ninja kicking with my kiddos. And, before long, a bunch of other kids were ninja kicking all around us. The glow on all their amazing little faces—and particulary on Charlie and Kip’s—as they looked to see if I saw their kicks made me smile even bigger.
Soon the jump fest came to an end and, as we were tying shoelaces and zipping up jackets, Charlie said something that made all my embarrassment and potentially offensive jumping completely worthwhile:
“Mommy, this is the best day I’ve ever had,” he said, grinning. “I’m going to remember this time today with you for the rest of my life.”
After that, we took our Mommy-Charlie-Kippy date out for chili cheese fries. Definitely the best day ever.