It was getting dark, but the minute my daughter saw the trampoline in Aunt Moo's (that's Aunt Molly to everyone else) backyard, she had a singular mission: jump like hell.
My daughter has just learned how to take off - how to actually leave the ground with both feet when jumping, whether it's in her room, on a bed, on our couch, or on Aunt Moo's trampoline. The first time she did this, upstairs in her room, she caught herself by surprise. Temporarily weightless and not knowing when she'd be landing, her feet hit the floor, her knees buckled, and she crashed on the carpet near her bed. Once she determined she was okay, off she went again, leaving her feet.
When she jumps on the trampoline, flanked by family, watching, cheering, and guarding, there is no better moment for her. She leaves her feet and comes back down on the elastic mat, which makes her want to rise high again and again until she falls with arms out in front of her to brace herself. The dark grime of the trampoline stains her hands, but when she's jumping, she doesn't care if she's clean or whether her hair is unkempt, or what her pants looks like. There is joy in her jumping.
When did we stop jumping? When did rules and convention and customs demand that we stop jumping, stay clean, play it safe, and take the joy out of living? When did we decide that it was somehow better to wade along the shoreline when all the while the wild ocean was beckoning?
I hope that very soon - next week, even - you take time to jump. Do something because you love it. Find a family member and laugh. Don't wear a watch and get lost in a book or a story or a nap. Do something until you're out of breath and go to bed later fully exhausted because you packed a day full of living.
There is risk in the jumping, for sure. But unless you're willing to leave your feet once in a while, you'll never know the sheer joy of flying.