So my middle daughter just turned 10 years old this week. I've been stewing for months about what to get her for her birthday. She's a tomboy/girlie girl so it was a tough thing to decide upon. I contemplated some golf clubs, which she's never asked for in her life but I know she would use. Or I thought she might like a night away to a big city with just Dad and I, but figured in the end she'd be disappointed that there was no actual gift. She'd only mentioned one thing since January and that was one of those newfangled, twisty skateboards, which I'd already suggested to Grandma. I was plumb out of ideas.
Finally I gave up and one day a few weeks ago, asked her flat out and she said she wanted a fake pirate's chest and some plastic gold coins.
What?? That's great, but I wanted to give her a real gift, something she'll freak out about when she opens it and something just for her, not shared by her sisters. When I explained my predicament to Hubby, within a split second, he had the computer open and was searching like a madman for just the right gift.
After a bit, I asked him what he was looking for and replied, "A gun!"
No, not a gun for him, but for my sweet, innocent, 10 year old baby girl. I knew he wanted to get her a gun ... someday ... but I wasn't sure I was ready for that at the present time.
Now I also know, that to a man, getting your first gun is like a rite of passage and all that stuff, but the Mommy in me instantly had a swirl of worries fly through my head as I imagined her miniature camo self, trekking through the river ground with a big ol' gun on her shoulder.
She's been out deer hunting with Dad for a few years now, but never with a loaded firearm, and I always worried then about someone accidentally shooting her. Now I gotta worry about her shooting someone else. Oh geesh! I tried to remain calm and open-minded when Hubby was showing me the pictures online of these giant rifles or .22s or whatever the heck he called them. I barely know the difference between a BB gun and a real gun, so I just played along as he described the guns and pretended I knew what he meant when he used the words, "trifecta, scopes, and long rifle." I'm sure he does the same to me when I blabber on about cooking, homework and hair products.
Anyways, I agreed that if he really wanted to get her one, that'd be OK, even though, deep down I was quite leery. Then we made a trip to the store to look at them, like that would make much difference but I went along, thinking I could at least help out with which gun is the prettiest. As he rambled on about the quality and weight, and so on of each one of the guns on display, I nodded my head and attempted to file away as much info about them as my female brain would encase. Then he asked me which one I thought would be best. My knowledgeable self replied, "Just get her one that won't knock her over when she shoots it."
That was the best I could come up with. Plus, it was my honest answer. I didn't want some weapon so heavy that it hurt her when she shot it or was too heavy for her to hold making her accidentally shoot one of my brothers in a tree stand. Great "Mommy" answer, I thought. Now I would have preferred her new gun be a pretty wooden one with unique carvings in it, but apparently they're too heavy, so Dad picked out a black one. To me it looks like a gun used by the soldiers in Desert Storm but again, what do I know.
Well, a couple of days before her birthday, she came running up handing me a written list of everything she wanted for her birthday. Guess what? A gun was nowhere on the list and actually, so far off the list, it's not even funny. She asked for a red Barbie car, some Barbie furniture, a play cash register and a new doll. I would say, fairly typical for an almost 10-year old girl.
I was worried that when we celebrated her birthday and gave her the gun, she'd be disappointed so I tried to forewarn her that we'd gotten her one BIG, important gift and not a lot of little ones.
After her birthday lunch, we made her close her eyes and brought up the massive weapon and sat it in front of her. Much to my surprise she was ecstatic and couldn't wait to take it out shooting. Daddy pretended not to be just as excited, but I know it was quite a proud Father/Daughter moment for him.
Unfortunately for ol' Mommy, it scared me even worse when I saw her standing and trying to hold the gun, half her size, with her skinny little arms, aiming it out the window. I put on a smile, though and took lots of pix, all the while knowing that come this Fall, I'm gonna be one Nervous Nelly. Maybe after Daddy trains her and she takes some safety courses, I'll feel better. Not sure, but what I do know is that some Barbie furniture and a new doll would have helped me sleep a little better.