It was all Eamon’s fault. Really it was. The kid just had to go bragging about his jump rope record yesterday:
284 jumps without missing. Big deal.
“Don’t you know where your jumping skills come from?” I asked him. “I happen to be former Jump Rope Champion of the recess crowd at my elementary school.”
The kids were incredulous.
“No way!” they shouted. “Can you beat Eamon? Show us!”
I was modest. “Of course I could beat Eamon,” I said. “But not right now. I am feeding the baby.”
Eamon, however–boy that he is–could not let my bold statement go unchallenged.
“Can Mama really beat me at jump rope?” he asked his father the moment he arrived home from work.
Dan’s eyes sparkled with amusement. “Of course she can’t,” he grinned.
Really, I should have just let it go. A mother of seven has no business challenging her children to jump rope competitions. It was foolish pride and I knew it. But I just couldn’t help myself. Justice demanded it.
“Of course she can!” I retorted.
I grabbed the nearest jump rope and started jumping. The kids clustered around bubbling with excitement and Dan started to count.
Right around 50 I started to wonder just what on earth I had gotten myself into. Right around 75 my calves started to burn. Right around 100 Kateri shouted “Go, Mama!” and the younger kids clapped with glee. Right around 150 my breathing got heavy and my vision blurred.
But I kept jumping. 200 225 250 300!
At 304 the rope finally caught my foot and I fell to the floor, laughing and gasping for air.
I thought for sure I wouldn’t be able to walk today, but I’m fine. In fact, I am content to rest on my laurels. I don’t plan to pick up another jump rope for oh say, another 25 years or so.
There is something in a 9 year old boy, though, that dislikes being shown up by his mother. With an air of quiet determination, Eamon has been jumping all morning.