It’s all fun n’ games until Kid #3 falls in the mud.
“Honey! Don’t laugh! She’s really upset,” Chris raised his eyebrows at me.
The laughter bubbled up inside me and I hid behind Kid #4’s ball and giggled wildly with my quiet voice. Undoubtedly with parenting, there is a fine line between hilarity and madness. I knew the work that lie ahead, my amused face a mere mask for the frenzied to-do list in my head.
First, we’ve gotta get off this muddy hill. Then, we’ve gotta walk a block back to the car with four whiny kids, drag back six huge muddy balls and squeeze them (muddy) in the car. Oh my gosh, look at her muddy bum! It’s caked 3 inches thick! I’ve gotta find something she can sit on in her car seat. Oh, but I took the old towel out of the van yesterday. And her jacket… How will I EVER get it light pink again? Those tears, poor girl. She was only trying to help, chasing my ball. Man, that was too funny. If I keep looking at her, though, I’ll die laughing, her epic mud slide on repeat in my mind. Chris is frustrated. Our feet are muddy. We’ve gotta drive back home, change her clothes, wash off the balls, and head back out. We were only at the field for five minutes. Can this misadventure be salvaged?
I did what I do best.
“You know, I’ll never forget this one time when I was waiting in line outside to get into a party, and there was this girl dressed from head to toe in a lavender Adidas outfit. Lavender Adidas striped shoes, lavender velour striped Adidas pants with matching velour hoodie, and a matching Adidas lavender striped visor, this girl was stylin!’ And she knew it. Except, she didn’t think twice about trying to jump over a little muddy embankment to join her friends. This happened almost twenty years ago, and I still remember it in slow motion. She got a little running start, but didn’t quite clear the hill and landed on all fours. At that point, her outfit could have been salvaged. Except, she tried clambering up the hill, lost her footing, and slid sideways down the sludge. She sat there for a minute, stunned. Her lavender ensemble would never be the same. I’m sure this girl was far from home, too, but you know what she did? She went into the party anyway.”
Kid #3 stared at me. Mom and her stories. When she re-emerged from the house in clean jeans, the day brightened, and we returned to the scene of the crime.
“Chris, I think we should find a different field. This one’s just going to get everyone dirty.”
“Nope. There are some dry spots. The kids want to do their tricks.”
You see, ever since a couple of giant human-powered Hopper Balls entered our lives, enamored our children, and filled up my living room, an extraordinary outdoor adventure bounced around in our imaginations.
Today was the day our Hopper Balls made their public debut.
We obtained four more balls, practiced tricks on our lawn, found the sun, chose a different town (we have an almost-teenager who might be recognized), stuffed six balls in our van, and decided to sight-see in a not-so-ordinary way.
Through downtown streets, a cobblestone plaza, courthouse grounds, an alleyway, a painted parking lot, up a staircase, past mirrored windows, and into some vestibules, we bounced. All six of us. Cars slowed, grandpas smiled, necks craned, families stared, mouths opened, children pointed, parents wondered; we bounced.
And we’ll do it again.