Our kids got a trampoline for Christmas this year. I couldn’t write about it until now because if they can’t bounce on it, I shouldn’t be allowed to acknowledge it.

The delivery truck that craftily placed the trampoline boxes across our driveway stacked them with precision.

He/she, knowing our street, took into account the most accurate angles to place the boxes in such a way it would ensure the word TRAMPOLINE would be centred in the dashboard of my minivan and magnified by 10,000 mili-pixels, blinding us like a meteor shower of ruined Christmases as we approached our driveway exactly one week before the big surprise was scheduled to be unveiled. Had the boxes been set even two degrees in any other direction, there would be a chance the kids wouldn’t have known what their Christmas present a weej before they were meant to.

Hanna squealed from the front seat next to me before I clued into what was happening. I’m still not sure how she saw the word TRAMPOLINE before I did but I think kids have a sixth sense when it comes to gifts and words like; trampoline, kitten and candy. If you’re over 40, you are admiring how the snow lines you made with the shovel are super straight and professional looking before noticing boxes and bouncing words.

Ellie and Chloe, in the next row of the van had no clear line of sight to the boxes (despite the delivery person’s best efforts to ensure ALL passengers would be able to read TRAMPOLINE from a satellite on the moon.)

I had to act quickly (without disturbing the shovel lines) so I reversed out of the driveway and skid down the street grumbling under my breath while hashing out a plan.

I told Hanna to call Greg who was inside the house and put him on speaker phone so everyone in the van would hear our conversation.

“Hi Greg, you’re on speaker phone.” (I always like to let people know in case they were in the middle of channeling their inner Great Grandpa Hastings and getting ready to say something outrageously inappropriate for young ears).

“Greg, the delivery person left our neighbour’s Christmas present for their kids on OUR driveway by mistake. The kids will be getting off the bus soon and I don’t want their Christmas to be ruined so can you come and hide the boxes so they don’t see them?”

Long pause.

Hanna was not buying it.

Ellie and Chloe hadn’t noticed we weren’t in our driveway anymore.

Longer pause.

Greg:  Well why would they do that?


Did that sound in any way frazzled?

Hanna: They already have a trampoline, why would they be getting another one for Christmas?

Me: Have you seen theirs? It’s falling apart! What an absolute mess! (Sorry neighbours, acting out of desperation)

Hanna nodded her head but in a way that suggested she wasn’t going to buy this story even if the neighbours dragged this thing onto their lawn, played with it for two years and then we yelled surprise and gave it to our kids.

So Christmas morning we weren’t sure how to enthusiastically present some big, boring boxes to our kids with no intention of setting up a trampoline, risking the destruction of our perfectly linear shovel marks.

We printed the letters of the word “Trampoline” on individual pieces of paper (in keeping with the theme) and hid them around the basement.

Then with no instruction or direction from us, we sent the kids downstairs to see what they would do with the clues.

Ellie found the letter “A” and assumed whatever was happening would have to be done in alphabetical order.

When she found an “E” she quickly bailed on that plan and told everyone to find their initials and then stand on them.

I think she was envisioning some sort of porthole to the future opening up in our basement after the girls stood on their initials for say, three hours while I sipped my Christmas tea in my, fingers crossed, new, comfy socks.

Chloe collected letters and appeared to be hiding them from her sisters lest they use the pieces to find out her real identity—Spy Kid.

Then, twelve seconds into our glorious, Christmas scavenger hunt, Hanna blurted out, “It’s trampoline.”

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