I totally get it.
And I am standing here before you, with my hands raised in surrender. Because I, Daffodil Campbell, who has grounded her child for shooting a rubber band across the living room, took not just her own child but 4 other innocent children to a shooting range and armed them all with paintball guns and bought them paintball pellets and set them loose on each other. I took Hunger Games and mixed it up with a little Lord of the Flies, added a dash of Goonies and then threw in some paint for good measure and BLAMMO. Birthday party.
Disgusting, right? I should have known better. For years I have judged parents for a decision they have made, only to find myself doing the same damn thing later on. Starting with disposable diapers and toddler leashes, through glitter and play dough, and headlong into arming my children for fun, I have spent the past 13 years backpedaling, issuing mea culpas, swallowing my pride and taking the path of least resistance. I will be the first to admit I was extremely reluctant to send out the invitation, considering how uptight I have been historically about guns-as-toys.
Max asked to celebrate his birthday with a trip to the paintball range.
Solid start, right?
Some of you may know that I have an issue with guns in general, and more specifically with my kid playing with them. In an attempt to find some common ground with Max on this issue, I have come to an agreement with him. He may play paintball at the range under careful supervision and wearing extensive (excessive?) amounts of safety gear.
What is this, therapy? Way to make everyone uncomfortable, Daffodil.
To that end, we would like to invite his friends to join us at the paintball range for a fun game on Saturday. Several of our adult friends will be playing as well, to help with supervision on the course.
"To that end"? What the hell are you even talking about right now? Oh wait, here comes the bold print - PAY ATTENTION THIS MUST BE THE IMPORTANT PART.
Start time at 11am. It is an all-day pass (until 5pm). Every parent should drop their own child off, and make sure they have the necessary documents signed and the necessary gear required before leaving.
The range has it's own requirements for safety, and a website that outlines the guidelines and also provides the permission slip that MUST be filled out and signed by a parent before the child can play. We will give the kids rides home afterwards if you would like, although you are more than welcome to stay.
Pretty sure no one will want to hang out with me anymore. Ever. And who could blame them.
Max is hoping your son will be allowed to join us,
Wow. Amiright? "Thanks"??? Sheesh. Understatement of the year, right there. Thanks? Thanks for what, you freak? Thanks for the total buzz-kill? Thanks for inviting my kid to a party he does not want to miss, and forcing my hand on the gun issue? Don't play it cool. You just totally overshared and made everyone uncomfortable, that's all. NB fucking D.
But you know what? Only 2 kids didn't show up. One of the parents even wrote me a supportive email in response to that hot mess, telling me that he, too, had a "gun thing" and worked it out through paintball. I felt, dare I say it, validated. It was like a virtual high-five. And as the kids stood around at the end of the day, after 6 solid hours of hiding in trees and ducking behind blinds - in 80 degree heat mind you, dressed in jeans and hoodies and helmets and body armor - they were all grinning. Ecstatic. Gleeful. Also, soaked with sweat, hair plastered to their heads and disgusting in every way. Dirt, grime, food, and sweat smeared across their faces, fingernails black with dirt, they reeked. It was the happiest, stinkiest group I have ever seen. And i hang out with derby girls. Have you ever smelled a derby girl's skate bag. I know what stank is.
The car ride home with 4 of them was all the payback I needed for the utter hypocrisy of this party For all of my years of judgement. Today my karma was in the form of teenage B.O., and I have learned my lesson, universe: Next time I take them to play with guns, they have to jump in the ocean and rinse off before we drive home.