Sunday, August 24, 2014

What Not To Do On Vacation...

It's really all my fault.

We were on vacation, driving home from Philly to Kansas City after our 9 year old son's cancer scans.

Zach, our 11 year old, is a huge history buff. I find him reading historical fiction in his room at all hours of the night. We decided that because of his interest in history and the military, we would make a few stops on the way home that would interest him.

One of our stops was at Gettysburg.

Something that was on his list of "Top Things To Do In My Lifetime" and he was beyond giddy.

We went past the gift store and Zach asked if we could go inside. I knew there was absolutely no way we were walking out of there without something. So we went inside...

I told you this was all my fault...and that was the first mistake I made that day.

Once inside, he didn't hesitate one second. He made a mad dash for the small stock of toy musket rifles in the center of the store.  Zach is a huge Nerf gun guy and he and his friends fervently defend the world (our yard) from invading forces.

So I wasn't surprised when he immediately said, "Mom...can I get this musket rifle?"

I was tired after the stress of scans, but I still had enough energy to say no because it was too big to haul around in the rental car and he didn't need another toy gun.

So, without skipping a beat, he said, "well then can I get the musket's smaller?"

and then he grinned that grin.

Moms know the one I'm talking about, it's the one that softens your heart when you are being strong. At that moment, I knew I was weakening in my resolve.

I wanted to say no, but I was tired of always having to be the one to say no so I did a very bad thing...

I sighed and said,

"Ask your father."

It was a safe answer.

I knew Brian would say no. It was more than $10, it was big, and he has a hundred Nerf guns and he didn't need another toy gun. It was an illogical thing to buy and Brian is an engineer...driven by logic.

I recognize it was wrong to pass the task of saying no along to dad so he could be the bad guy, but I am a stay at home mom and I say no four million times a day. I was on vacation for Pete's Sake! I wanted a break from begin the bad guy....

and I just couldn't bring myself to say no to something that I knew was going to make that smile disappear.

To make it worse, after I told him to ask his dad...

I scurried outside the gift shop with our nine year old (like the chicken I was) so I wouldn't even have to see his face when his dream was crushed with the "no" answer that was coming.

Outside the store and I braced for the sad face that was going to be coming out at any moment. My stomach was churning because even though I knew it was the right decision, I was bummed for him.

But I did not see a sad face when he walked out the door.

He came out BEAMING while wearing a civil war blue soldier hat and carrying his new rifle musket over his shoulder.

My jaw dropped.

What had happened? How had my master plan gone so terribly wrong?

My husband smiled.

I said, "You let him get it??"

His shrugged his shoulders and said "well" a lot.

Lesson one...don't leave the bad work to your spouse because chances are "the grin" is going to melt him too and he is going to cave as well. Chances are he is just as weak as you are...


Zach was so happy about his musket. So happy that he could not stop smiling. He cocked and fired it about a thousand times...

before we even got in the car.

And then once in the car, he cocked and fired it another thousand times.

Then once we backed out of the parking space, he cocked and fired in another thousand times...

and so it continued.

For hours.

When we would mention how that constant clicking was "distracting to the driver", he promised he would just hold and not cock it or fire it. That didn't turn out to be the case. And neither of us had the heart to take it away because he was so happy.

I admit that it is possible that I smiled and mentioned that I was not the one who said yes as the clicking continued.

Our next stop was outside DC at the National FireArms Museum. Incidentally, this is inside the NRA headquarters.

Oh goodie!

I'm not a big "gun" girl.

Remember Zach's love of the military and all things historical?  Well this location made him want to faint from excitement.

His face was sort of like mine was when I saw the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory for the first time in San Diego.

I had arrived "home"!

Braden and I grew tired of looking at what appeared to me to be the same gun in a thousand cases. Zach informed me that this was not the case as he explained every single fact and figure about every single gun he saw while excitedly gasping and dropping his jaw at each and every one.

So Braden and I went outside and sat under some trees, played, and waited....

for them to get out of the gift shop.


you would think that the thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of clicking and banging noises in the seat directly behind Brian as he drove would be incentive to say no this time,


So I wouldn't even need to mention that we didn't need a second toy rifle.

You would be wrong.

He came out with some rifle thing that had a pump that allowed him to jerk it in the air and cock it like Arnold in The Terminator.


So now we had TWO guns continuously being cocked and fired, cocked and fired, cocked and fired, cocked and fired, cocked and fired, cocked and fired...

(reading that over and over isn't nearly as annoying as hearing them cock and fire over and over and over, trust me)

But he was so very happy!

The next morning when we got in the car to head out for the day, the guns were "mistakenly" left in the back where he couldn't reach them while we drove.

Craziest thing!! How in the world did THAT happen!?

Lesson NOT...I repeat NOT allow your child to purchase a toy musket or rifle thingie...

and then retain it in the vehicle while driving.

I can still hear the clicking in my head....

and it's been like two weeks.

But I can also get to see him smiling from ear to ear.

Maybe, in retrospect, it all worked out.

Maybe ;)