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A trampoline is something worth investing in
Arianne Brown, right, jumps with her sisters on her childhood trampoline. - photo by Arianne Brown
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a warm summer night in 1987, and my nearly 5-year-old self was sitting on the back porch anxiously waiting for the surprise that my dad was bringing home.

Minutes later, he arrived with a few other men from our neighborhood carrying a large box that contained something that would change my life forever.

It was a trampoline.

For many, the mere sight of a trampoline brings on a cold, fearful sweat. For me, however, it brings feelings of delight, freedom and complete happiness.

It was on that trampoline where I spent hours having bum wars with my siblings as we tried to see who could bounce from their behinds to their feet without taking a double bounce. I remember having shock battles as we would slide on the mat with our socks and shock one another with the electricity we had generated.

When wed gotten more comfortable in our bouncing abilities, I remember attempting front flips, then landing them, then trying flips from our knees. We would then challenge each other to take on new tricks like twisty flips and aerials.

I remember watching a neighbor girl over the fence who could do a backflip. She was much older than me, but that didnt stop me from calling over there to ask her how she did that. The advice she gave was simple: land on your back, then kick over backwards until you get confident going backward, then just do it.

I practiced for hours, doing just as she said, but it wasnt until my dad took one for the team when I knew I could do it. My eyes widened in horror and amazement as I watched him muscle himself backward completing what I could only describe as a back throw over with a lot of old man noises mixed in there.

It was his example of bravery with the tiniest bit of stupidity and luck (no skill), that helped me complete my first of many, many backflips.

The small investment in a 14-foot diameter piece of bouncy playground equipment that my parents made nearly 30 years ago provided (and continues to provide) countless moments of fun and learning. It was no wonder that a trampoline was the first item on my backyard play thing list when I became a mom.

For the past 10 years, it has been a joy to watch my children demonstrate the same type of play I did when I was a child. I love seeing them challenge one another to do new tricks. I love listening to the laughter that comes only from bouncing, flipping and twirling in the air.

But, as I watch them from high up in my kitchen window, I cant help but be grateful to my parents for buying that first trampoline. Had it not been for that purchase made on that warm summer night all those years ago, I would not be able to leave my window view to join them for a game of who flips best.

And I still think Im a contender.
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