The Handle is There to Help

I made a foolish purchase the other day: a mini trampoline.

My husband is not happy with me. I knew he wouldn’t be. I knew he hated trampolines.

But the kids are home, the weather is supposed to turn bad, and we’re trying hard to be good and limit trips outside, which means hardly any parks, and definitely no playground equipment.

So I thought a trampoline for my daughter’s birthday—which is right around the corner—would be a wise move. I checked two boxes with that one purchase: present for kid, and activity to keep the kids happy. I was clever.

Even more clever—I didn’t buy a child’s trampoline. Oh, no, that would have been a waste. I want to jump, too. And so does my eight-year-old daughter. And possibly my husband, if the phenomenon of men warming up to purchased cats and dogs until they’re the little animals’ biggest fans also applies to mini trampolines.

Picture of a young girl jumping on a mini-trampoline, holding onto the handle.
Handles are for helping.

So we now have a trampoline. Bigger than expected. With a handle. Because let’s face it, the last thing I need right now is an injury that requires a trip to the hospital.

But the children are resistant to using the handle. They are resistant to taking advantage of the help and support it provides.

“Use the handle!” I have shouted over a dozen (possibly over 100) times since the trampoline arrived and was assembled yesterday afternoon. “No handle, no jumping!”

This morning, the eight year old snuck onto the trampoline while her toddler sister slept. She did not use the handle. She hit her elbow on it instead.

A very minor injury. Not even an injury at all, really.

As she rubbed her elbow, I did a version of I-told-you-so: “What have I told you about using the handle?! It’s dangerous just jumping around willy-nilly!”

As I said it, though, it occurred to me that I was really quite the hypocrite. I mean, how many times have I been offered help and support, and not taken it? How many times has someone offered me a handle to hold for support when I jump into something new or intimidating, and I’ve said I’m fine, thanks, but I can manage this on my own?

More times than I can count.

I’ve emerged mostly unscathed, but I can’t help but wonder how much easier some of my more difficult moments would have been if I’d just grabbed onto the damn handle. Fewer falls, fewer tears.

As for the trampoline, beyond opening my eyes to one of my shortcomings (the list grows longer the older I get, but I think it might just be a case of increasing clarity rather than increasing ineptitude), it’s also done a good job of keeping my toddler busy, and she’s mostly been using the handle.

My husband hasn’t warmed to the trampoline yet, but still, maybe it wasn’t such a foolish purchase after all.

Published by helenkamakura

Helen is a Canadian writer and innkeeper based in Kamakura, Japan, where she lives with her Japanese husband and two children. If money became obsolete, she would happily accept peaches, fresh peas, and sun-warmed cherry tomatoes in exchange for her labour.

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