A rapid-fire of orange foam bullets shot from an equally orange plastic machine gun just miss me as I dive-roll my way to the safe zone – the couch. In this blinding sea of orange, I am the observer and the minority. And I love it.
'Cease fire!’ echoes through the house as Nerf® guns are reloaded; the chaos escalates.
Games like cops ‘n robbers, ‘Hunt’ and ‘War,’ as well as good old fashioned shoot-until-dead games are always on the agenda – the higher the body count, the better the game. Thank God for orange foam – no broken windows; no holes in the walls.
I better not speak too soon.
On a regular day in my too-small house, the four of us constantly trip over each other; easily done when two are fast-growing teenage boys. Add in another teenager (of course taller than I), and I huddle in the corner of the couch or hide in the kitchen. Unfortunately, the two areas are separated by enemy territory, so any chocolate and tea required for my refuge isn’t going to happen.
Many are likely shaking their heads in disgust, gasping in disbelief – ‘How can a mother, in this day-in-age, allow guns and violence in her home, with boys at such an impressionable age?’
Who cares, I say! They, the military personnel who run around my house, are safe, secure, and under my watchful eye for fair play and equal participation. ‘Sharing’ is ever-monitored, even with teenagers, and any foul language is immediately admonished by the General –me.
They aren’t hanging out at the mall; they are drug and alcohol free.
They aren’t on the internet looking up things they shouldn’t. They are interacting with each other face to face, practicing proper social skills, as opposed to texting or Facebooking all day.
And in a weird way, they are getting exercise; their flushed faces and stops for water are telling. Numerous corners and countless stairs requiring stealth twisting and turning would challenge any army recruit in basic training.
At an age where they are typically more concerned with hair-gel, over priced clothes, and anything electronic - never mind their ‘female’ enemies/allies - it’s refreshing and endearing to see them still be kids, doing what they should be doing for as long as they can; playing, laughing, cheering, and sometimes screaming in terror.
An orange foam bullet whizzes by me. Apologies ensue, and not only from my own two boys, but also from their too-tall friend. Manners are still in check when re-loading their Tommy guns.
I know I will find stray foam bullets in my shoes tomorrow, and I will tune out barked commands of ‘Freeze!’ as I stir their lunch of orange mac’n cheese. I am the minority in this testosterone-riddled, orange plastic and foam world; I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
Now excuse me – I need to reload my Uzi. It’s stashed behind the couch.