I can probably count on both my hands the number of times I’ve sincerely laughed since my middle child unexpectedly and tragically left this earth 4 years ago. I laugh with others when it seems appropriate. But sincere heart-felt laughter has been infrequent, to say the least.
Yesterday, though, as my husband and I were driving somewhere, chatting about our kiddos, like we often do, my honey remembered something about our ornery boys and shared it with me. It made me laugh – a hearty, felt all the way to my toes kind of laugh. In fact, I felt genuinely happy – something I don’t often feel anymore. I am happy, in that “new normal” sort of way. But this feeling of happiness was like revisiting a favorite childhood place when all was well with your world and you knew little of the trials and heartache life could bring.
We had some very ornery boys. Three, to be exact. Three boys in-between 2 beautiful, sweet and sometimes ornery girls.
This particular memory was sparked by a conversation neither my husband nor I can remember, but that is probably beside the point. Our boys loved to play airsoft* and did quite often. In fact, one time they decided to play with some friends in our basement where 2 of our children had bedrooms and we also had a family room, bathroom and our school room. My husband, who is an amazingly talented carpenter, had finished our basement with 6 beautifully stained and varnished (which my husband spent more than a few hours doing himself) 6-panel wood doors that our boys and their friends decided to shoot-up with airsoft pellets. By the time I realized what they were doing, it was too late. The doors and walls were covered with little indentations. I was sick about it, but my even-tempered hubby was as close to angry as he ever gets! We discussed replacing them, but he got to work on them and fixed every one so beautifully you’d never know anything had happened to them. And our boys got some very strict orders to never play airsoft in the house again!
But that is not the memory that caused me to laugh from my belly and have that delicious feeling of happiness, though this memory does involve our boys playing airsoft.
At the time of this occurrence, we were living in the house my husband built for us out in the country on 20 acres. About 8 of our acres were woods, another 6 or so a field that was separated from another field we built our house on by a ravine about 35 feet deep. It was a beautiful piece of property that our kiddos had an absolute blast playing on as they grew up. They loved the woods, the fields and the creek that ran along our property at the bottom of the ravine and woods. And their friends often enjoyed coming out and playing airsoft with them in the woods.
Here are a couple of pictures of the woods, the creek and our dog, Molly, whom I loved very much.
My hubby, Dan, only mowed the field that we built our house on, about 4 acres, and he had a large riding mower to do it with. On a particularly balmy afternoon one summer, he was out mowing and our 2 oldest boys, who were in their teens at the time, were outside playing airsoft, though my hubby didn’t know this. As he came along our driveway on his mower, our boys, who were hidden behind one of our kids’ cars – a big ole Buick – shot airsoft pellets – which aren’t soft, at all – at his back. He couldn’t see them, so he thought he was being attacked by some kind of flying insect, which could be quite enormous out there. So he would bat at “them” with arms flailing as he continued to mow, trying to keep control of the steering wheel of the mower.
As he moved along, away from the driveway, the attacking insect seemed to be left behind, so he didn’t stop. Around the field he’d go, which took about 30 minutes, and as he came along the driveway again, there were those pesky “bees” again, and his arms went flailing as his head whipped around, side-to-side, trying to see what was attacking him. Of course he could never see that bee that was attacking him, so he just continued mowing, hoping he didn’t get stung.
This is probably one of those scenes you had to see with your own eyes to appreciate how humorous it was. My honey really is the most easy-going and laid-back person I’ve ever known, and anything that makes him react in this manner – flailing arms, eyes darting around trying to find the culprit, and the look of bewilderment on his face – makes all of us in our family double-over laughing. The fact that it was caused by our mischief-making boys makes it all the more delightful for my husband and I, now that all our children are grown and out on their own, with one residing in heaven.
I don’t think I have any pictures of my boys playing airsoft at our home when they were teens, but here are a couple of pictures of my middle son getting ready to play airsoft with his friends, when they were stationed in Japan in the US Navy.
There are no boys in this picture (that I know of!), but this is the area my hubby was mowing when our sons were shooting him with airsoft pellets.
I’m sure our boys were rolling on the driveway laughing as they waited for him to make another pass by them so they could shoot at him again; they repeated their antics 2 or 3 more times before they confessed to their poor dad so he could stop his fearful theatrics!
Oh, how the memory of this incident, our children’s amusing escapades, and their growing up years made me smile, genuinely laugh, and enjoy a moment of complete happiness.
These are not airsoft guns and our boys were not in their teens, but this picture is so cute of my 3 sons and their squirt guns that I have to share it. This picture was taken when we lived in Kansas City, MO. I remember saying that they surely couldn’t shoot their mama while I was taking their picture!
My boys and their guns. They always had to have something that made noise or caused some sort of reaction, in their hands.
What a treasure children are; how blessed I have been………and still am.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.” Psalm 127:3-5
*If you are unsure of what airsoft is, here is Google’s definition: Airsoft is a military simulation sport where players participate in mock combat with authentic military-style weapons and tactics. Unlike paintball, airsoft uses 6mm round BBs made of hard plastic. The guns used are full-scale replicas of real world weapons.