See this is the thing with committing to produce a fresh blog piece from the oven every Monday: sometimes it comes out finger-lickin’ good, and sometimes it’s an unsavoury mess.
But this one, this one I write with helium-gas fingers bouncing giddily across my keyboard.
Can’t get those letters, words, and paragraphs down fast enough.
So much to talk about in 1000 words max.
It’s been a good weekend.
O off to the second of two football trials over the weekend yesterday, and himself and his sister K jabbering away in the back of the car.
She is in great form, chatting normally with us, on her way to meet her pal, and the two of them off into town on their own to do some Christmas gift shopping.
All talk of Dublin City and the majestic lights over Grafton Street and instructions from A and I on where to go for the stuff she has in mind.
Usually K and O are hived off in separate iPhone worlds on opposite corners of the seat, or bickering when K starts singing – loudly, as she does – and he’s soon grunting “Shudd uppPPPP”.
Oh, oh … spoke too soon.
O peeps around the corner and asks if he can use the computer for five minutes, something to do with installing software for a minor change in the control interface on his PS4. Or something like that.
This becomes 10 minutes at least and involves Dad helping with opening software from an unidentified developer and trusting his son’s promises that his computer will not explode or take in a fatal virus.
But it’s done and he’s happy.
Can you imagine Tolstoy having to come off draft 26 of War and Peace because his 13-year-old had a PS4 issue!
But it’s fine for draft one of endastories.com‘s latest meister-work!
O’s search for a new team continues, and this time there is joy.
On Saturday, it was into Dublin City centre to try out for another of the city region’s finest teams.
It’s funny, but the signs were good from the off. O was light-spirited, no bother taking his Weetabix and hot milk on board.
And this carried into the trial. He was on the balls of his feet, controlling the ball, moving and passing with precision and conviction even in the kick around before the start.
Soon he was in the thick of a mini five-a-side tournament with the other 20-odd triallists.
The club play on a fantastic astro pitch, and the first team guys were down on the far end of the pitch training.
O impresses in the five-a-side and 15 minutes in, the head coach calls him over and tells him to go down and introduce himself to the coach taking the first team’s training session.
He’s training with the big boys!
Dad and Mom are looking in through the mesh from an adjoining pitch, halfway to blue-cheeked petrification, and there is even a short but intense ice-coated rain blast from the grey Baltic heavens to make sure.
But O is in there, looking thoroughly at home with these lads.
It’s impressive stuff, the speed and crispness of the passing drills, and a warm thrill in the tummy when we hear the coach commend our boy’s efforts by name.
They are there for over two hours, with a full on 11-a-side match to finish.
O is beaming when he eventually comes over to us at the end.
I was in the toilet when the head coach came over to A and, talking directly to O, invited him to training next week, and told him he would sign him if he was interested.
O is not given to overstatement, but when he observed in the car that “I could not have imagined that going any better”, A and I just grinned to each other in silent delirium.
That evening we went to a lovely house party, and my abiding memory of the evening is the discussions everywhere in the jabbering kitchen on dealing – coping – with our teenage offspring.
These became more animated as more and more wine, beer and delicious home-made pizza went down.
Savoury to go with the unsavoury!
No matter what war story one shared, or jaw-dropping interaction with surly son or daughter one recounted, there was as bad, and sometimes even reassuringly worse coming back from fellow front-line combatants.
This was M.A.S.H. without the blood!
But it was such fun to let off steam, and embellish the conflicts in the telling!
The next afternoon O was to play a friendly with another top class team who, this time, had contacted us to inquire if he wanted to try out for them.
It was only Siberian-cold on the sidelines as we noted they were to play three half-hour tranches of football. Three! O is still stiff from yesterday but ready to go again. Three half-hours!
O has to sit, or rather stand out, the first half-hour, but then as they huddle, O gets his top off, and he’s out there.
He does really well. He starts off competently, and as the match progresses, he’s advancing up the field, directing the other players more and more, and altogether impressive.
The head coach had told me a couple of days ago, he was trying out loads of kids, and would not be finalising his squad until January.
That evening a message drops into my phone. The coach is very impressed and says that although he won’t be deciding his squad yet, he would be happy to sign O up.
Job done. Two trials, two options.
We can’t forget out girl.
She loved her outing into town, and banished her Mom from the kitchen as she showed me the beautiful Christmas gift she had bought for her.
I told her about O’s trials and how delighted myself and her Mom were with how things were going for the two of them.
She is really involved in her school work, and loving art in particular, producing some really lovely drawings.
It is so wonderful to see her engrossed in perfecting the charcoaled lips or eyes of a figure in her sketch pad, and trying to get her to leave it for now and go off to bed.
Yes, a good weekend.
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