The Kid & I hit the range tonight, but he couldn’t take it after shooting one clip of the .22. He sulked off and ended up watching me finish the box of ammo. I pushed the target back 20 yards to the end of the range, but the bad lighting and the fact that my mind was in “daddy mode” meant that I didn’t shoot very well.
Afterward one of the range officers spoke to the Kid in front of me asking him if it was the noise, and saying how it would take some time getting used to it. The truth of the matter is that the Kid has developed this fear/weirdness after hitting the range at least once a week for the past two months. I’m wondering if it’s hormonal – he is half-way to 12 now – but I can’t remember when puberty started for me and even if I’m the best model to compare him to.
All he seems interested in now are multiplayer video games and MMPORGs – both of which I can’t relate to. The idea of paying real money to buy fake furniture to decorate your imaginary apartment simply doesn’t make sense to me; nor do I get a thrill by playing 1st person shooters against real people, some of whom have WAAAAY too much time on their hands. I’ll go head to a head with a computer, just like I did 34 years ago with Pong and the way God (and Sid Meier) intended it.
He’s not interested in music, even though I’m playing it in the car all time. He’s not interested in sports even though I’m already jonesing for football and the offseason has just started. He doesn’t care about technology, while I have almost as many computers as I have pets (and he’s not interested in caring for them either.)
Being a father isn’t as easy as you would think – especially for me. My dad had dropped dead by the time I was his age, and the trauma that caused me left scars that weren’t finally healed until the Kid appeared in his first sonogram. So I don’t have the template that others have to either follow or intentionally stray from. Like my marksmanship I’m learning as I go, and I don’t know if I’m doing it right. Am I holding the gun right? Am I siting correctly? Am I giving him too much freedom? Am I rolling the trigger? Do I get frustrated with him too quickly? Should I move the target closer and get good at that distance or roll it all the way back and keep firing away?
At the range if I shoot a bad group I make adjustments and shoot again; with the Kid I’ve got just one shot! In seven years or so he’s going to be
on his own independent and I’ll be shooting alone at the range. I had hoped this would be some serious father/son time that he would remember, but I guess I shouldn’t forget that life isn’t a Hallmark card or a commercial for a retirement fund. He’ll remember things that I’ve already forgotten. It’s the natural order of things I suppose.