I only saw the aftermath: my five-year-old, flattened and crying, on the ground next to the trampoline, my husband lifting her from the ground. In slow motion, I dropped the plate that I had been holding and ran to her.
As we inspected for injuries, I asked Joel what had happened. He looked incredulous. "I don't know. She just jumped. It was the strangest thing."
All the parents at the picnic checked if she was okay. Someone brought a Ziploc bag full of ice. The other children, surprisingly quiet for a moment, stared. I carried her back to the patio, settled her onto my lap, and smoothed her tangled hair.
Now that I'm a mother, I harbor dislike for trampolines. This is because I have a small part inside of me that still loves them -- that daredevil tendency that landed me in the emergency room on more than one occasion as a child -- and I sense that my kids share that same love, that same disregard for personal safety. This unnerves me.
Later in the evening the whole story became more apparent. A young boy had told his mother, a good friend of mine, that he and Reese decided to jump from the trampoline into the tree that was in the backyard. He had been afraid to try, so in his words, "Reese went first."
Oh, dear, dear daughter mine.
The bellyflop from the trampoline onto the ground now made more sense. In her mind, she was reaching for a tree branch -- a tree branch that just happened to be 15 feet from the trampoline. (Obviously, judging distance is not yet one of her strengths.)
That little girl actually must have thought that she was going to make it.
At what point in her brief flight, I wonder, did she realize that things weren't going so well -- besides the obvious point when she met the hard earth?
I also wonder when my first gray hair will appear. If she keeps this up, it just might be soon.