Giggles wind their way up the stairs from the basement, filling the house with their joy. Following their lilt through the den into the spare bedroom, cooler air brings respite from the summer heat. A tub of balls sits waiting, the boys balance precariosly on the footboard, poised and ready.
We play this game. Kinda like the game at the county fair, where you try to knock the moving ducks down with the bb gun. Swinging their arms wildly, they steady themselves on their perch, taunting daddy to throw the ball at them and knock them backwards into flamboyant bounces on the waiting mattress.
Dad, you can do better than that, they mock an errant throw, until the next one sends them into a flip of laughter, scambling back not to miss a minute of fun. Then its daddy's turn to be pelted, the bed groaning in displeasure as I flounce back into the cold embrace of fresh (now slightly rumpled) sheets. Laying here chuckling, I wonder if there is anything better than being thrashed by two little boys and their stuffed football.
Every once in a while the balls come a little too hard, a little too fast, a little too on target catching us in just the wrong place. Just the other day, Cole took one on the nose, crumping in a heap in the center of the bed. Coaxing him to unbury his wounded face, little tears rimmed his eyes as he fought to hold them back. Crushing his head in my chest, his little arms wrapped me tightly for reassurance...and approval to cream his brother with fastball.
Retaliation only leads to assasination, odds never evening out. Violence begets violence begets...an eternal quest for justice with little satisfaction.
I tell you what, let's just tickle him until he says he's sorry.
Sorry...sorry...I said I was sorry...