Bill put on his Christmas wish list a Remington 870. Fine. The man wants a gun for Christmas, I'll get him a gun for Christmas.
But then he typed in after it that it could be a "family gift."
Who is he kidding?
Oh, I'll learn to operate it. That way, he can abandon me for weeks or months at a time but still rest easy at night, comforted by the notion that between the dog and the gun, his family can fend off the average bad guy until the police arrive.
But as long as I have money and a grocery store that will take it, I will never ever shoot a duck or a pheasant or any other animal unless it is rabid and about to attack my toddler.
Bill flew to Korea on November 30th, and first thing on December 1st, I called a friend of his. He helped me figure out exactly what to buy, where to go, questions to ask so that I would bring along all the proper paperwork. I'm not sure what all the other people in the office thought about Bill's wife calling this guy as soon as Bill went out of town. But such are the indignities I am willing to suffer just to make my husband's Christmas special.
Finally, by the end of the week, I had the time to head down to the gun shop of choice. I packed all six kids in the car and put five bags of M&Ms in my pocket. The deal was, if anyone said that my kids were well behaved, the kids could have the candy on the way home.
We had to be quite a sight. I, obviously, did not know a thing about guns. But the man was nice, the kids were complimented (and earned their candy), and I walked out of there a gun owner.
This is something I never expected I would ever do. But that's my husband: always getting me to try new things, stretch my horizons, grow, develop, expand. Or maybe that's just part of being an Army wife.
Because Bill then went to Japan and continued to be away for another week, I knew that the majority of the children would completely forget about our little adventure. Those who remembered were most likely to keep a secret. And they did, shockingly enough. In fact, I think even the older ones temporarily forgot, and didn't say anything when Christmas Day arrived and there was no shotgun under the tree.
It was the day after Christmas when Bill and his dad started talking about guns that Fritz, an eager listener, sought me out. "Uh, Mom, what about Dad's gun?" he asked. "Don't worry about it," I reassured him. And, good kid that he is, he left it at that.
I couldn't resist. Instead of giving it to him for Christmas, I saved his "family gift" for yesterday, the Feast of the Holy Family. I'm not sure what Jesus, Mary and Joseph would think about my gift, but I think it's funny.
Bill was thoroughly surprised, and I'm not sure which impresses him more: me buying a gun or the kids keeping a secret. And although I find myself to be completely predictable, I am still managing, after nineteen years, to keep Bill guessing.