Yesterday, my husband and son decided to spend some quality “guy” time together. They happily left church, got matching haircuts and had lunch at McDonalds. They also included a manly trip to the sporting goods store. When they walked through the front door later that day, I had only a moment to admire their haircuts before my world stopped dead in its tracks. For some crazy reason, my rational and intelligent husband bought our 7 year old a slingshot. Wait, that’s not all. He also bought him a 50 pack of metal bb’s to go along with it. Say what? Yes, my sweet husband decided a boy just can’t be a boy without a slingshot and metal projectiles to hurl at things. Let me remind you, this is the son I have spent years teaching to not hit his sister, wrestle the dog or trap squirrels in the backyard. This is the same son that asked for a catapult for Christmas. The son that says when he grows up he wants to “own a store that sells dangerous things”.
Luke quickly ran off to make a “target” after hearing my lecture about where and when the slingshot can be used….and what it can be used on…..and not used on….and the list of punishments if he shot at a person or the dog. Then, I calmly turned to my husband. Before I could speak he proudly announced, “I also bought him safety goggles!” Luke ran back into the room, snatched the goggles and yelled, “Oh yeah, I forgot. He got me these because his friend almost shot his eye out with a slingshot.” *gulp* To Luke’s credit, he easily slipped the goggles on before firing away at his target.
Baffled, I turned to David. “Really? A slingshot?” I asked. He looked sheepish. I bit back my comments knowing it wouldn’t help the situation.
I’d like to blame his momentary lapse in judgment on his spinal cord injury. I’d like to blame it on an impulse buy. I’d like to blame it on something. However, the cold hard reality is my son is thrilled and over joyed to have this amazing weapon. He and his dad spent most of the afternoon setting up a bullseye and practicing his form. I must admit, it was the first afternoon in a long time that didn’t involve computers, video games, t.v. or time-outs. It was heaven!
As I watched Luke concentrate and practice, I realized David did an amazing thing. He gave Luke the opportunity to handle responsibility. Surprisingly, Luke treated it with maturity and respect. He didn’t try to hit his sister or aim at the dog’s butt. I know he was tempted. He spent hours perfecting his pull, aim and release technique. He told me he was “gonna get so good he could hunt food for us” and “protect our family from bad things”. As I watched him, I saw my boy growing up before my eyes. A little boy wanting to become a man. Wanting to be the protector and provider just in case. In that moment, I looked at my husband and saw him as a little boy. I became overwhelmed with appreciation for the man he became. Appreciation that his mom allowed him to have a slingshot as a child and grow up to be my Protector. My Provider. As I sit back and watch my son fling metal bb’s at his target, I rest a little easier. After all, my husband had a slingshot and still has both his eyes, right?