My weekends are free again but they are spent motoring kids to and fro between organized sporting events that are only as organized as 4–6 years kids will allow. There is the almost military-like prep time before matches, putting on the uniforms, strapping on shin guards that look like they are meant to stop projectiles, pulling on long, thickly luxuriant socks and finally the cleats, lacing them, pulling the them tight but evenly and finishing up with a double knot to prevent that crucial slippage that prevents an errant shoe flying and wacking some unsuspecting parent.
The game itself usually devolves quickly, depending on how much the kids have been exposed to american football, into maybe two to three kids still actively chasing the ball, the rest wandering the field, spinning circles, picking grass, chasing butterflies or if they are younger than most of the players then usually they have already left the field in tears not yet prepared for the awesome—awesome in the way tornadoes are awesome to behold—field of kid sports. The emotional threshold will vary from parent to parent, but we all have some investment in our kids and project these Saturday morning proceeding far into the future and ponder whether that one kid who is shoving a bit too much will be managing hedge funds or serving prison-time or probably both, and that one kid who is always behind the pack and not completely aware that he is actually in the middle of soccer game and who instead will be looking at that passing butterfly or be bending over looking at grass that has been trampled by the tiny hordes and you might worry about this kid in particular but then you see him holding out something: a four-leaf clover, and you decide he will be the next Steve Jobs or a fantastic, high-stakes poker player, either of whom will place you in early retirement on some beach in Tahiti and you will paint Gauguin-esque pictures wondering just what you were mis-thinking all those many years ago.
Or as happened to me today, I learned that although Mac doesn’t understand the intent of soccer, he can cast a fishing line shockingly well. Within minutes, he seemed to achieve a fisherman’s Zen, and so we spent an hour under an overcast day sitting on a dock off the Yadkin river, before we decided that his Cars™ toy-fishing reel would no longer suffice and called it a day.