Forget the Resurrection and where babies come from, one of the hardest concepts for my kids (6yo girl and 5yo twin boys) to grasp is why their favorite clothing store sells soccer balls…and why they aren’t allowed to play with them.
“Don’t even think about it!” I barked as Twin A reached into one of several large ball bins that were scattered around the store (which shall remain nameless, but by way of a clue, shares its name with a branch of the U.S. Military).
“If the balls are here, why can’t we touch them?” my son wanted to know. This was in fact a good question, but not one for a mother to answer, but a store manager.
My sons exercised considerable self-restraint and managed to keep their hands off of the balls located next to the rack of toddler cargo shorts, as well as the ones piled next to an impressive stack of women’s panties. By the time we made our way to the front of the store—where an even bigger bin of balls awaited us—my threats and warnings had begun to wear thin. While I paid for my purchases, one of my boys played limbo under the checkout ropes. The other twin decided that it was just as good of time as any to practice his field goal kicks.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the ball whiz over my head and across the storefront. The ball made a perfect arch over the display of women’s tank tops, meeting resistance only when it reached a plastic mannequin wearing sunglasses and carrying a floral beach tote. As the mannequin and the table of beach-themed t-shirts she was pointing to toppled to the ground with a loud thud, my son yelled, “SCORE!”
I opened my mouth to say something meaningful, if not apologetic, but strangely, nothing came out. As it turned out, the store manager had more than enough to say for both of us.
“Little boy!” she screeched. “Those balls are not for kicking!”
I saw the woman’s point, but suddenly, for the first time, also my son’s. In a rare moment of generosity, I sided with my offspring. Turning to the manager, I found my words.
“What exactly are they for then?” I asked.