Back yard is a funny term, theirs was more like a cross between a jungle and a landfill. The swing set had finally broken that year, and their third trampoline within 5 years had busted, leaving only the empty frame and a large matt strewn about the yard. A large wooden rectangle, standing on its end, was used as the hen house. The mother had tried to move it to a different spot, but the structure was so large and heavy she had only managed to turn it slightly.
Remnants of a wire chicken pen lay just beyond that. None of the wire matched and it was a hodgepodge of scrap wood and wire fence pieces they had collected. Not that it mattered, the chickens always escaped anyway. Poor chickens, there were 5 of them. The children loved those poor things to death. They always brought out food in mom's good kitchen containers....and left them about the yard. A once good teflon pot now scratched from chicken beaks, a glass plate that had, surprisingly, not been broken, cups of every assorted shape and size, and a few, now broken, plastic bowls shining with morning dew.
"Grandpa is HERE!" shout the chorus of children.
"Hi guys! Ready to set up your trampoline?!"
Shouts of 'Sweet!' 'woo hoo!' and 'Alright!!!' ring through the air.
Excitedly they all run outside in their shorts...only to run quickly back in the house complaining of the 'freezing' weather. It was 65 degrees outside. Grandpa laughs and he and their mother begin moving large metal pieces to the back yard. Eventually one or two kids come out to help, but mostly they watch from the windows to keep warm.
"Thank you Daddy, the kids are so excited."
"I'll come back after work and help you set it up this evening"
"Oh, I'm sure the kids will have it done by then." She kisses her father goodbye and returns to the house. The kids are already huddled under a mountain of blankets already watching a cartoon. She wonders if it would be better to let them watch the movie this morning while she gets the kitchen clean, or if she should make them come into the kitchen and clean it. That would take three times longer than doing it herself. Movie wins, sometimes you just have to turn your children off.
The rest of the morning unfolds normally, a few wet pants and a small pile of bread crumbs in the floor. The mom would have loved to get the trampoline set up, but one child was sick and needing to be held. Another child saw the attention and decided they needed mom too. Oh well, holding children isn't a waste of time, they just won't have a trampoline today.
After lunch their Dad comes home from work early. The two little girls excitedly rush to his arms. "How are my beautiful girlies!" They squeeze him affectionately and smother him in kisses. While holding the little ones he leans in and kisses his wife. "Yeah, everyone else went home early, I figured I'll just finish up work from my computer." His wife explains that she has been trying to go outside and put up the trampoline. "Well, how about I spend some time with my little kids and you can help the big boys set up the trampoline."
They begin working, the trampoline was the one her parents had in their yard. Her parents are moving out to the country and offered their fort and trampoline to the family of 9. The children held up one of the legs while Mom tried to get a piece to match each of the poles on the leg. After a few attempts they figured out the pattern and within 20 minutes they had the whole thing set up.
Now, time to work on that chicken pen.