Monday, August 29, 2011

Boys and Weapons

Last night we took a rare trip as a whole family to Target. It's usually just me or just me and the kids but I needed to return a shirt and we figured we'd use it as an opportunity to get out of the house and pick up some ingredients for dinner. Somehow family shopping trips seem to always have a dash of fun included because they are more relaxed and we don't hold tightly to a schedule like I do when I'm alone.

When our shopping was complete Brian headed for the checkout lanes with both kids and I headed to Guest Services to make my exchange. I finished my task first so while I waited for the rest of my family I perused the Dollar Spot aisles near the exit. Amongst all the cheap back-to-school themed items I spied some foam weaponry on the bottom shelf. Over the top of the aisle I saw Brian and the kids headed my way so I grabbed a sword and playfully jumped out of the aisle with it to surprise William.

I'm pretty sure I saw more delight cross Brian's eyes at my Dollar Spot find than I did in our four-year-old's.

He let go of the cart and went digging through the weapon bin. Swords and maces and ax hammers abounded. In no time I could here grunts of "hoo" and "haw" and chants of "take that" and "take this" as father and son committed themselves to battle right then and there.

Lucy and I sat back out of the line of fire and giggled at their boyish ways.

At one point a middle-aged lady was trying to set her sights on a pocket Webster dictionary but was finding it difficult not to be distracted by the flying sword of my grown husband and his preschool son. She made eye contact with me and that's when I saw it. The ever so brief look of disapproval. I could almost hear the voice in her head shouting, "This is what's wrong with kids these days."

Instead of being the adult and ushering my soldiers out of Target, I just continued to stand back and laugh.

Shortly after the woman decided she best opt out of a one-dollar dictionary, a young dad past us with his newborn baby in tow. He looked at Brian and William and smiled from ear-to-ear no doubt counting down the days until his own son would be old enough to join in such shenanigans.

After a valiant effort at trying to convince me that he absolutely, positively did so need a foam sword, we left without any weaponry in hand.

But after I put Lucy to bed I came downstairs to discover my boys had been hard at work.
A knight in boxers and an undershirt.
And that's just the thing about boys.  You can refuse to buy them all the guns, swords and daggers in the world.  But all it does is encourage them to find ways to make their own.

We can debate the issue of letting boys play with weapons until the end of time.  But in the end boys [and men!] will be boys.  And I don't think I'd want them any other way.

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