I am excused therapy duty due to an inability to communicate verbally without spitting on people. Spouse takes the boys to occupational therapy. My daughter and I finish off her homework and commence thumb twiddling. “How about we play football on the driveway?” I suggest on a beautiful sunny Californian afternoon. “You can play football?” “Of course!” I lie. Since the boys refuse to go outside unless bribed and even then, only visit fleetingly amidst much squalking and far too much protective clothing, this is a rare treat for us both. It takes a while to find one soccer ball that hasn’t given up the ghost. We make do, as we don’t wish to waste valuable minutes locating a pump and other accessories. I open the garage door, which provides an extra wide goal. I take the road side. Together we play for just gone an hour.
“Gosh Mom. I didn’t know you could play football so well!” she offers breathily. I beam braces back at her, “did you have fun, just the two of us?” She grins, “yeah, can we play again soon?” Her words die on the wind as the family car pulls gently into the drive.
The boys exit the car in a manner indicative of someone yelling ‘fire!’ in an auditorium. Junior is gone in a flash, hands covering head, wailing through the cross fire of sun, light breeze and general outdoorsiness.
His brother tumbles out the car, Bambi, drunk on moonshine. He leans against the car as the seasick sailor does, waiting for the ground to stop waving. Not for the first time, I have cause to wish that Harry Potter's fireplace is rushed into commercial use. He shakes his head clear, a dog fresh from a bath. He pauses to survey the scene, blinks to clear his vision. “You wanna play football with us,” she offers dubiously. “No fanks. I hate soccer,” says the traitor to his European gene pool. “Mom’s playing too!” she entices. He startles and looks around for me, even though I stand but 3 feet away from him, in front of him, not hiding behind a tree. When he spots me, he flinches as I come into focus, “oh dere you are! You play football?” “Yes.” “Oh.” “Shall we play together?” He looks at me and then his sister, patently bewildered but also looking for a legitimate get out clause. …….. “Nah! Soccer is a girls' game,” he says nonchalantly, and saunters off at a jaunty gait. In the light of his previously expressed anti "sex discrimination" views, I am taken aback. There again, political expediency [translation = scapegoat] seems an exquisite intellectual development.