I need more challenges to being a dad than I need another hole in the head.
Wait for this.
You may not want to read this.
Last night I nearly had another hole in my head, inflicted by my 13 year old son.
Airsoft guns. If you are familiar with BB guns, but not with Airsoft, think of Airsoft guns as BB guns that shoot plastic BBs instead of metal. I had an air rifle when I was a boy that shot both BBs and pellets. Nate and his friends have Airsoft guns, powerful but safe if used properly. Normally my son does use his gun properly and he has a lot of gun fun with his friends.
The black cloud is lingering over my head right now. When I arrived home last night, I noticed that little pieces of roof shingle were scattered across my front lawn. Uh oh. There has been a little leak in the portion of the garage roof where the garage roof meets the front porch roof. As I walked into the garage, I looked up at the front corner of the garage where that leak had been. It’s still a leak, but it’s also now a gaping hole. I saw sunlight. Stink. We have very little in our savings account. A look at our 25+ year old roof showed me what I already knew. It needs to be replaced. Our cars both need repairs. The needs list for our children rivals War and Peace. I walked in the door, sat down at the kitchen table, and my forehead met my hands as I talked to Mir about it all.
I had also bought an ice bag at Walgreens on the way home. My left foot is so bloated it resembles Lindsay Lohan on a binge. Mir sighed in recognition of my pain as I removed my walking boot and the sock. She knows that waiting for the foot to heal has been torture for me, especially as my friends have started to get out for bike rides.
Yes, I was having one of those “it sucks to be me” evenings. Really, I have been at this family thing long enough to be used to life’s challenges, so even if it seems bad I know that these things will pass. Call me simple if you want, but I have come to know that God will take care. He has so far and He will continue. So I was feeling OK despite the weight of the circumstances. I took care of the tasks required for the evening, filled the ice bag and settled in on the couch to tend to the rest my foot needed.
Have I mentioned that it is school Spring break for the kids? It is. They are on vacation all week. Nate is having a lot of fun with his friends. His friend, Kyle, came over and goofed off with Nate upstairs as I watched American Idol . As the show finished up, Nate came down and asked if I would take him to the gas station with Kyle for a soda, then take him to Kyle’s house. Mir had already approved it and had told me so before she went out for the evening. So the boys piled into the back seat of my PT Cruiser-To-The-Auto-Parts-Store and I took them to the gas station.
*click* from the back seat. Then I saw stars.
Nate thought it would be funny to aim his Airsoft gun at my head and shoot me while I was driving. Before the click, I could hear them chuckling to each other. Boys do strange things, things they might not do if their friends are not around, and Nate pulled the trigger. Point blank. The plastic BB hit my right temple and then bounced around the car.
This should be where I go ape, right? It was actually where I restrained myself, but intentionally showed enough anger to show them that what had just happened was seriously wrong. I didn’t stop, didn’t slow down, just told Nate that what he had just done was incredibly stupid.
I waited while he and Kyle went into the station to buy their drinks. Should I just take Kyle home and tell Nate his evening of fun was over? I knew that I was angry. Maybe it was best to give myself time to cool off. It was very near my bed time, something I need because I get up before five in the morning for work. If I took him home and inflict punishment, it was going to be a confrontation that would likely mean I would not see sleep until after midnight. So I decided to let it go.
As Nate returned to the car and got in, he tossed a pile of napkins from the station’s snack station at me.
“Here, you can clean up the blood with these.” Sarcastic. As if I was making a big deal about nothing, basically challenging me to make an issue in front of his friend.
I refused to bite. I took him to Kyle’s house, letting him know I was going to talk to Mir and decide on a punishment. It was time for me to start getting ready for bed. No one was home. I took a little time to say a prayer, felt the calm overtake the bit of anger and my heart rate returned to normal.
Then Mir got home. As I told her what happened, Nate came home with Kyle and two other friends in tow. And they started mocking me. I told them to go home, but Mir said she had given them permission to stay until 11 if they were quiet and let me sleep. But they weren’t. They gathered in Nate’s room while Nate played his guitar while he and the boys made up lyrics about my being angry about my head.
He’s not going to like his punishment. The boy is very privileged, has too many things. Those things are going to be taken away, locked away so that no one but me can give them back. He is going to have to earn them back, not only by doing but by respecting. I am not only tired, but I know that I need to be serious about doing the things he needs to be able to learn. That is not going to be easy for me, mainly because I am married to someone who does not believe that punishment is love. She is going to have to learn also and I am going to have to be tough with her as well.
Heal foot, heal. I need to get away. I need to ride away some of this frustration!