we signed our life away with the release form, paid our $13 and were ready to have at it. i looked around at all the people and figured out this was a death trap of obstacles and jumping contraptions. you two were SO excited and having SO much fun. vivian was showing jack the ropes and even he, my sheepish child, was anxious to jump off, climb up and bounce! i will admit, there was a certain level of difficulty keeping a watchful eye on both of you. vivian was a bit enamored by the bounce house and if i wasn't paying super close attention, i would see a blonde flash of pigtails sprinting in that direction. we were having a really good time, adhering to the rules, being cautious of others. i kept thinking to myself "this is effing genius, best $13 spent EVER!"
and then. . .
then, there we were. i was standing in front of those bi-level beam "things" - one of you on each side, your small hand in mine. i marveled in my creative mothering brilliance! this is great! you both are going to hang from those bar thing-ies, pull your flexible little bodies up and brace your toes and this is going to be so awesome for you! we watched the 10 year old girl in front of us, in her sparkling pink and lime green leotard. she was confident, talking about competition and how much practice she had done. she threw her hands in the air, took off running, leaped to the bars and did some fancy maneuvers. it was impressive.
what wasn't so impressive, was her dismount.
in kind of a sitting, laying-ish position.
she sat up, reached her arm out and i couldn't help but notice, it was bending IN THE WRONG DIRECTION! not in a cool, double jointed sort of a way; more like in a "shit is broken" sort of a way.
i am not sure if i clenched your hands tighter or dropped them all together; but i remember thinking to myself, "you must look away!"
but i couldn't.
and then i felt like one of those dirt bags, who holds up traffic, craning their necks to see what happened. it was awful. i felt the pit of my stomach drop and part of me wanted to run to get our coats and tell them we would never be back. ever.
the girl was crying and luckily there were a few parents in the medical profession that came to the rescue. within a few minutes i had gathered myself and decided it would be best if we did something other than stand there and gawk. you both were quick to run to the bounce house and neither of you ever mentioned a word of the girl that lie on the floor sobbing.
like. it. never. happened.
that, is just how kids are and it baffles and awes me.
i watched you like a hawk in the bounce house, fearful that every jump would end up with an orthopedic visit. good Lord. it took ME a good thirty minutes to settle myself; meanwhile, you were jumping off of everything, climbing to the top of the mats and losing yourselves in a sea of foam blocks, having an absolute ball. just as i had calmed myself down, vivian was in the pit crawling her way out, when a 12 year old girl comes swinging tarzan-style off of a rope and lands directly on my child! vivian clawed her way out from under the girl, yelled at her and went on with her business.
in those moments, it dawned on me that you are going to get hurt some times and there is not a damn thing i can do about it. i never baby any of you; in fact, i probably do the opposite. we constantly tell you to "shake it off!" one of these times we will say that, and you, too, will stand up shaking a limb in the wrong direction. but tonight, tonight was a whole different taste of freedom and ability, not just the occasional learning accident. we went and conquered the gym tonight but i am all too aware this will not always be the case.
on my way home my mind was racing of all the sports you could play and possibly get hurt, when i determined it might be best for you all to be mathletes. i am not sure my nerves can handle gymnastics, football, wrestling, your teenage years or even your own free will. however, like many a mother that has gone before me, i am going to do my best to silence the voices in my head.
i am going to let you play.