Wednesday MT #thekidnothestate asked me if I would go shooting with him.
I said sure.
Like it was no.big.deal.
So guess what we did on Thursday?
Yep. We went shooting.
Because I have to do what I’m afraid of.
When I was little…so SO many years ago….my dad took me shooting with him to the range. It was really just me tagging along with him wherever he went but that was something we did. I really don’t think he knew what to do with me. He didn’t give me a lot of instruction and frankly didn’t have a ton of patience for my little self and his giant .357 revolver. So I sucked it up and did it without complaining even if it did kick so hard it felt like it would leap out of my hands.
I haven’t been since I was so little, and I knew why. Because I knew it would make me think of him. Losing him was so hard. I didn’t want to go there. This is the week of his birthday. His favorite movie, The Magnificent Seven has been remade and is coming out this fall. So the theaters are filled with previews and it’s all very much on my mind. And as much as I try and avoid comparisons (I mean, everyone gets tired of them, right? I’ve heard that. I always loved it but some people do tire of it so out of respect in case he does…) he is so much a part of my middle child, that Alex Michael.
This seemed like a perfect time to tackle this giant ~in my face~ fear.
When we pulled up to the range there was a man in front with graying hair and beard wearing a black cowboy hat. He was leaning on a fence…jeans, shirt tucked in…big belt with his buckle right out there. Cowboy boots.
Then we walked in the building and the smell…the smell… just took my breath. It’s a working man’s sweat with a little dirty cigarette smoke mixed in with that distinct taste of gunpowder that hangs around in the air. I think my dad figured out where to buy it in a bottle because he always smelled that way. It smelled just like him. This is about when I started to forget what I was there for and just kind of live in the perimeter. I was on the outside watching what was happening..physically there virtually just an observer.
We checked in, got our completely ineffective ear protection, and headed out to the line. We flipped an imaginary coin and I decided to go first. Face it head on, right? We were using Alex Michael’s .45. MT #thekidnothestate had spent an hour with me the day before just learning the weapon over and over and over until it was familiar. I expected it to be mean and have a kick. Plus my hands are small.
Still…I fired it and right away...I was twelve again. Just right there. Back on the line with .22 shells in my ears for ear protection (no, that doesn’t work, don’t do that) and standing there aiming for the target with the weapon that’s bigger than I am and the noise that breaks my ears and quite literally shakes my insides…vibrating me to my entire core. My lungs, my heart, my bones, everything vibrates and almost screams with the noise of it. And I take a deep breath and I prepare to go again.
MT told me to relax and I couldn’t because I had started crying. The gun isn’t freaking me out.
The experience is.
He let me wipe my tears on his t shirt because I just never seem to have a kleenex when I need one and guys wear nice soft t shirts. This boy is a gentleman.
When we went to fire Alex’s .30-06 rifle I already knew that sucker would totally kick my ass. So um..no. I opted to not.
MT did though. And had a good time. He likes to fidget and fuss and clean everything and make sure it’s all safe and good and waiting for the next time Alex wants them.
A huge thank you to MT taking so much time to do this with me and to be so nice about it. And a thank you to Alex for the loan of his weapons.
***Only paper targets were injured in today’s activities. ***