Boy one inherited his father’s one eye raised about my pioneer leanings. But few boys are immune to the allure of a BB gun. When it was time we got him his own.
He also came pre-programmed with an “adherence to rules” setting (we are still looking for the flexibility button). We knew he would follow “no chickadees,” and safety guidelines carefully and he did. Target practice became a source of great joy.
This brings us to his 11th birthday. We suggested that he invite old friends, but to be brave and invite at least one friend from his new school. Boy one chose Turd (not his real name) and I picked them up from school. Turd spoke in sentences and was comfortable acknowledging my existence. Promising, I thought. Turd also discussed the BB gun he had and loved at home.
There was an hour or so before the party started. I sent the boys outside.
Would you mind if we did some target practice with my BB gun? asked Boy one.
Normally, I would not allow this, but Turd clearly seemed like a country boy, he owned his own gun, and besides, he spoke in sentences.
Ok until other people get here, but ALL the same rules still apply.
I know, Mom. Don’t worry.
Ten minutes, or was it twenty, minutes later, Boy one was at the door, his mouth dripping blood.
“Ter sho mah too,” he said, conveying rather unclearly that Turd HAD SHOT HIS TOOTH.
We left emergency messages for our dentist. In the meantime, we had a party. Boy one was in pain, but propped up with ibuprofen and icepacks. He kept a brave face while everyone else ate pizza. Never was it discovered, why, when Boy one said, “let’s go in now,” and started walking across the field, Turd lifted the gun and shot him in the mouth.
Boy one’s tooth was fixed as best as can be until he is older. The BB gun sat untouched after that.
I really can’t even look at it, said Boy One softly.
I apologized many times for my failure to protect. I ached for the delight that had become a sorrow, and life went on. Two weeks ago, Boy one (who appreciates most company except his own) stayed outside after everyone was in.
What’s he up to? I asked Boy two.
Oh, I said. I didn’t say more because I didn’t want to admit how much I wanted all this to be ok now. I wanted Boy one free to not be ok.
Did you see my target? Boy one asked a few days later. I strung cans on baling twine so I can hang it from a tree.
Great idea, said my husband
Yeah, pretty cool, huh? Boy one kicked off his shoes. I love target practice. It’s just so relaxing.
And me mother heart breathes out again.