Last week I was all verklempt because Lucy's sleepover devolved into a puddle of tears and nosebleeds.
I should have been counting my lucky stars.
Max informed me that the birthday party he has been invited to next month requires a gun.
Yes, it's an Airsoft gun. I know, it's not a real gun. But it sure as hell looks like a real gun. And he is going to use it to shoot his friends. He may be shooting them with little plastic bb's, but still. When the hell did a birthday party turn into war games? The birthday boy's mother told me with a resigned voice that all the boys had these guns. That she didn't like it, but that they seemed safe, and they wore protective gear. And this was what her son wanted for his birthday - an Airsoft war with his friends.
He wants to hide in the woods and shoot at his friends for his birthday.
DOESN'T ANYONE PLAY WITH LEGOS ANYMORE? I have about $5,000 worth of Legos, and apparently my kid is the only one still enamored with them. Everyone else is dressing in camo and trolling the woods waiting for a clear shot at his buddy.
In the movie "A Christmas Story", we are all hoping he gets his Red Rider BB gun. And when his mother says "You'll shoot your eye out" we all roll our eyes at her paranoia. I mean really. It's a bb gun. How bad could it be.
Now I find myself firmly in her shoes, and the idea of arming my child with anything stronger than a garden hose makes me nauseous. He has slowly been chipping away at my resolve, and I have been steeling myself as we have marched slowly towards the gun toy aisle. First, small water pistoles. Then, eventually, big huge water guns that could squirt water 75 feet. After all, it was only water. What harm could there be in buying him a water gun? But he wasn't satisfied with the water gun for long. It took him years to talk me into the Nerf gun, and when I finally acquiesced he spent every penny he had on those little orange foam darts. I breathed a sigh of relief that I had managed to survive getting my kid a gun, and thought I had done my part. You wanted a gun, I got you a gun. Are we good?
No. Not even close. Because apparently, Nerf guns are the gateway weapon. As soon as they get their fix, they need something that shoots harder, faster, further, louder. Something with a little more panache. A little edgier. A little more realistic.
So the guns get heavier, plastic turns to metal. Gray turns to camo turns to black. Big foam darts turn to bb's turn to.....bullets?
No. I don't want guns around me. I don't want my kid getting comfortable shooting guns. I have never shot a gun, My husband has never shot a gun. Nor have we ever needed to. If we lived in a rural area, or if one of us was a police officer, or a member of the armed forces, or a hunter, then this might be different. Maybe. I can't say, because in reality we live in a small, residential neighborhood in the middle of town, and we aren't cops or soldiers or hunters - and neither is our 11 year old. But he has this invitation, and a gleam in his eye. He cruises Amazon putting guns of all sizes, colors and style in the cart for me to "look at". And I dutifully look, and then look away.
I have been told that I am being ridiculous. That boys like guns. That buying them guns is unavoidable - whether it's a Red Rider bb gun in the 50's or an Airsoft rifle 60 years later. It's just something boys do. Some friends and readers have suggested that instead of saying no, I should educate him. Send him to gun safety classes. After all, he's a boy. Boys have been shooting things since the beginning of time.
Isn't time up yet?
52 minutes ago