All year long I'm hearing about what the kids want for their next birthday or for Christmas.  I ignore most of it, with the exception being when the calendar creeps to within a month of the actual date.

This year I got a request in June for a July birthday, and I had to listen.  Luckily for me it wasn't something like a $2,000 drone he can hook up to the iPad or something ridiculous like that.  He asked for something I could actually handle.  "Dad, I want to go to the gun range".  That... I can do.

Luckily for me, Matt Betros of Aaron's Gun Shop in Cameron was starting a show on one of our stations in Central Texas all about guns and the 2nd amendment.  I scheduled us a time the Friday night after his birthday.  I officially had a 13-year-old, and it might be one of the last few times he speaks to me for the next seven years, with the exception of telling me how horrible of a parent I am, of course.

Photo by me

When we got there we found out Matt got a cake for Tyler's birthday, and even though you're not gonna get a room full of guys at the gun range on a Friday night to sing "Happy Birthday", it was still an incredible gesture.  The next door neighbor to the gun range even brought a load of watermelons over and gave Tyler a melon so big he could barely carry it.  As a matter of fact, at the following night's sleepover the watermelon was dropped by a friend of Tyler's and busted all over the floor.  We still salvaged and ate most of it, given it was so huge.

Matt had three of his personal gun ready for Tyler to use, which was sweet because I don't think he would have gotten a thrill out of shooting the only guns I have, a 12-gauge and an Annie Oakley .22 special edition still in the box with the tag attached.  It's never been fired, and I wasn't going to start now.  That's Tyler's college fund.  I can probably get $800 for it on Craigslist, so he better hope tuition doesn't run much more than that.

Photo by me

Matt was nice enough to let Tyler use his souped-up .22 M4 Carbine.  It had the look of a bad-daddy of a weapon but with the recoil of a .22.  Perfect for Tyler.  He had his fun with the .22 (as did I) before moving on to a 9-mm on steroids.  It had quite a bit more kick, and that meant me and my bum shoulder wouldn't be messing with it.  Yes, I know, I'm a girlie-man, but walk a mile in my shoes before you judge me on the shoulder pain.

I have to say, I give Tyler a lot of crap as his dad.  I expect perfection.  He knows it.  He's not perfect and neither am I, but I have to toughen him up for the real world.  You won't get a pat on the bat for making your bed as an adult, so you won't get it from me.  Kids are sent out into the world not prepared for the slap in the face adulthood has in store for them.

I just point this out to say that I'm far from the, "OMG, look at Tyler... he just brushed his teeth without asking", dad.  With that being said, Tyler is a damn good shot with a gun.  Matt gave him a moving target to hit and Tyler nailed 7-out-of-10 on his first try.  The 2nd try netted a full 10-out-of-10 on the target.  Whatttttttt???????? Perfection?


I couldn't help it.  I had to congratulate him.  Then I made sure to get onto him for being irresponsible and not putting the targets he'd used off the truck's bed before we drove off.  That's just life as a teenager.  One step forward and two steps back.