How The Christmas Story is this?...
Cade, who will turn eleven in January, had been talking for a couple of weeks about Airsoft wars in the woods behind his dad's house, and I (thinking along the lines of NERF guns) had been, for the most part, tuning him out. If anything, I had been excited that my "nice nerdy" had been getting some fresh air, hanging out with other kids, and doing something besides reading and playing video games. But, today, he came home with a black-and-blue thumbnail and explained that someone had shot him with an Airsoft gun from a distance of about two feet. I got immediately on the Internet to research.
What I learned is that anyone who expects to be shot with an Airsoft gun should wear (at a bare minimum) protective eye gear. Airsoft ammunition can be damaging if it hits the bare eye or an eye covered by a lens. A prescription eyeglass lens, like Cade's, or a sunglasses lens can break if struck, and the shattered material can damage the eye. A shooter should make every effort to avoid hitting someone in the face, in general, also to maintain a safe shooting distance of at least ten feet. Beyond the requirement that Airsoft guns have orange tips when sold commercially, there do not seem to be any federal laws related to Airsoft guns in the United States, although some states, cities, and population centers have laws related to the weapons' purchase and use. Not to put too fine a point on it: I want Cade to have both adult supervision and goggles if people are going to shoot Airsoft guns near (or at!) him.
After many Cade tears, many Cade sighs, a couple of Cade stomps, a conversation between Jim and me, a conversation between Cade's dad and me, a conversation between Cade and his dad, a conversation between Cade and Jim, and several conversations between Cade and me, my growing boy is now sleeping peacefully in his bed. Perhaps the most tragic part of the story is that--when I had told Cade I knew what he wanted for Christmas more than he did and thought his surprise gift would be his favorite--I had been referring to a keyboard, while he had started envisioning an Airsoft gun under our Christmas tree. Thus, his hopes were dashed when I assured him, tonight, that neither Mommy nor Santa will be giving him an Airsoft gun for Christmas. (Mommy will make sure that neither Daddy nor anyone else gives him one, either, but I decided not to say that part out loud.)
Even when my child is saying stupid things like: "But, Mom, I like being shot with Airsoft guns because it hurts, and that makes the war seem real and makes me want to hide behind things," and, "You are making things more dangerous for me by not buying me an Airsoft gun to use to defend myself," it is hard to watch his big beautiful, greenish eyes fill with tears. But then I remember that this is a matter of my child maintaining eyeballs with which to cry. I told him tonight that I am responsible for his health in every regard: physical, sexual, emotional, and mental, and that there were two words for what was happening between us: good parenting.
So *sigh* Mommy gets to be the bad guy one more time. Awesome.