For years, the trampoline has been a staple of our backyard. When my older son was in high school, it was a common occurrence to see a slew of kids in the backyard jumping on the trampoline. After he went away to college, my younger son and his friends pretty much took over where he had left off.
The trampoline got so much mileage that we eventually had to buy a new one. At the time, I thought it was kind of crazy for us to make another purchase. You see, my son was turning 16 and only had a couple years left at home. However, the new trampoline got plenty of usage and the backyard again was filled with laughter.
My younger son is now 21 years old. In the last year or so, the trampoline hasn’t really seen much action. However, a new family recently moved in next door. Once in awhile, I’ll get a knock on the door from a little one, asking if they can play on the trampoline. I was more than happy to see it get used again.
My husband and I were talking one night when the conversation turned to the trampoline. I suggested that we offer to give the trampoline to our neighbors. My husband agreed and I broached the subject the next day with my neighbor. He seemed interested, but the trampoline stayed put in our yard.
Two weeks ago, my neighbor brought the topic up again. He wondered if I was still game for giving away the trampoline. I replied that if he could figure out how to get it over the fence in one piece, it was his. With the help of my husband and two neighbors, it was hoisted over the fence and rolled into position in their backyard. The whole neighborhood of kids was involved in the process.
For the next 6 straight hours, we heard kids screaming, laughing and generally having a great time while jumping around. In fact, for the next 7 days we heard laughter emanating from that backyard.
It was my idea to give up the trampoline. I accepted the fact that my kids were growing up and it was time to move on. However, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t feel a twinge when it was finally gone. I most certainly did. It made it more final and real that I no longer had young children. Another part of my life had transitioned.
I felt it even more last night. My older son called to say that he had proposed to his girlfriend. As excited as I was for the two of them and as much as I love the girl, I felt that familiar twinge. My family was changing whether I liked it or not. Things would never be the same.
Whenever you go through a transition in life, you have a choice. You can accept the new landscape, or you can fight and claw at the change. Change is never easy. We are all creatures of habit and strive to keep things status quo. But the truth is that relationships, people, jobs and situations are always changing. If you want to stay happy, you need to roll with the changes and embrace them. You must find ways to deal with and accept your new reality.
Tonight, I’m relaxing on my deck in my backyard, working on my computer. The kids next door are yelling, laughing and having fun on the trampoline. I could swear it sounds exactly like it did 10 years ago. You can’t imagine how much pleasure that’s giving me.