Monday, March 22, 2010

Gun-Toting Momma

On Saturday afternoon, we had an Earth Scouts meeting in my basement. My house has a finished basement family room complete with couches, chairs, TV, a playhouse for the kids, and bins and bins of toys. The toys that typically live in the basement are the toys that the kids do not play with often. Their favorite toys are in their rooms. The "reject" toys reside in the basement. Before we began our Earth Scouts meeting, all of the kids were playing in the toy bins. One of the kids found a toy gun and began shooting the other children. I overheard one of the moms tell her son, "They have guns in this house. What do you do if you see a gun? You don't touch it...even a toy gun. You do nothing. You do not touch it."

Ok...apparently we are a household that harbors guns. I could hear the condemnation in the mom's voice. We had been judged...and we came up lacking. In my defense, the kids found the one and only gun that is to be found anywhere in my house. And it's not a gun in the typical's not a pistol or a shotgun. It's a laser gun...a Star Wars-style laser gun that flashes lights and makes laser sounds. I quickly took the gun away from the children and made some comment about how I don't know why we even have that toy. However, in reality, I know exactly why we have it. I remember the moment we bought it.

Ruanita and I were at Walmart with all three kids. They had been behaving particularly well that day, and we told them that they each could pick out a toy for $5 or less. Sophie and Nicky quickly found exactly what they wanted. However, Lucas kept picking up toys that cost well over $20. We walked up and down each and every toy aisle at least 3 or 4 times. The little ones were getting restless and whiny. Despite numerous suggestions on my part. Lucas could not find a single toy for under $5 that interested him at all. Finally, he saw the laser gun. He liked it. It was $3.50. In a moment of duress, we happily jumped on the gun bandwagon and let him buy it. We just wanted to get out of that Walmart...and if it took a gun to get us there, so be it. We made a conscious point of calling the gun a "laser" and not a gun. We have a "no gun" rule in our house, and were able to get around that (and ease our own conscience) by calling the gun a laser. Semantics, really...but it made me feel a little less guilty for buying it.

Lucas likes Star do I. He has a Light Saber as well as the laser. Star Wars is about a war that takes place in outer space...hence the name. Being that it is a war, there are weapons involved. I am by no means a proponent of war, but I do love those movies in all their cheesy glory. It's something Lucas and I have in common. Perhaps I am a "bad" mother, but I see nothing wrong with him acting out scenes from Star Wars. And really...try as we might to avoid it, boys love playing war games. We can raise them to embrace their feminine sides. We can raise them to express emotions. We can teach them empathy and kindness. We can lavish them with love. I can be a peace-loving, tree-hugging, granola-eating momma. However, get two boys together, and inevitably something will become a gun. They will build a gun out of Legos. They will fashion a gun out of a used toilet paper roll. They will find a way. Someone will be attacked. The bad guys will die. There will be battles and heroes and defeats. As a mother of two boys, I have learned these facts. Try as I might to counter it, I can't fight nature.

The laser gun, however, is gone. My boys are going to have to get creative in their war games...I'm not going to make it THAT easy for them. Never again will someone else's child stumble upon a gun in my house. I survived twelve years of Catholic school...I don't need any help in the guilt department, thank you very much.


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