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On Paintballing and Being an Aunt

I am an awesome aunt, if I do say so myself.

Allow me to explain.

On the wimp factor scale, I probably score near a "10" for wimpitude. I do not like pain, though I handled labour well enough because I knew it was coming and I may as well deal with it. But I don't like pain. I don't like exertion. And I don't like fear.

Teenage boys, on the other hand, seem to thrive on it.

Last year, my nephew was involved in the Bible quizzing program at our church, and he reached a milestone for verses memorized, so we let him name his prize. He wanted to go paintballing. My husband said he'd take him. But Alex didn't just want my husband Keith. He wanted me, too.

I initially put him off, but finally yesterday I assented. I think we often "pooh pooh" teenagers and don't spend enough time with them on their own terms because they want to do things we don't like. But if we want teens to see us as approachable, and to respect our opinions, we have to come down to their level, too. It has to go both ways. We can't expect them to want to be with us and to listen to our advice if we don't also occasionally go out of our way to affirm their interests.

So today I took a deep breath, loaded up on padded clothing (despite the heat), and went paintballing. My daughter did not. She just kept the camera.

My husband, three teenage boys, and me. Quite the sight. I had on a knit top and a knit sweater (knit is far more absorbent of impact) and a jogging outfit over the whole thing. And for those of you who think Canada is never hot, you're wrong! It was in the mid-80s today. But I need padding, even if it makes me sweat like a pig.


Now I know some of you reading this won't approve of paintballing because of the guns. I understand the sentiment. But for me it wasn't really about the guns as much as it was about bonding with the kids. And let's face it: he's going to go paintballing with or without me, and he's going to play violent video games. I'd rather he go paintballing and have a social afternoon than play video games. And he's planning on going into the military, anyway, which I think is a noble profession, so I'm not opposed to the practice. If you are, please forgive me, and realize the spirit in which I was partaking.

For the first round I was too scared to move. I had a whole new respect for soldiers, realizing how difficult it must be to run with bullets flying. For the second round I ventured out a bit, and by the fifth round I managed to just nail my husband in the back, which I sheepishly admit was a little bit too satisfying! Alex managed to hit me twice, and it didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it would.

Looking like I'm doing something:


Trees are my new best friend:


I love walls, too:


If I make a run for it, can I make it out of here?


He's over there:


Hubby after he's hit:


All done!


Will I go again? I suppose I probably will, because the teenage guys in our church do like it, and they'll be helping me out with coaching our quizzing teams this year. It seems like a reward they'd appreciate, and I do like spending time with them. Unfortunately, I don't think they'll take up knitting!


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At 9:25 PM , Anonymous Carole said…

That is so funny. I haven't gone paintballing in probably 20 years, but it was fun.

I still have my camo coveralls. We didn't cover up near as much as you guys. I would have paint all in my hair by the end of the day.

You are absolutely right about gaining respect for soldiers. Its sort of creepy your first time out there.

And think how many calories you burned out there having fun.

I think being a cool aunt is cool. Who wants to be a boring ol stick in the mud?


At 9:31 PM , Blogger Sheila said…


It is much easier to be a "cool" aunt when it's not in the mid -80s! But thank you for the compliment anyway!

I admire your lack of padding when paintballing. Don't know if I could do that!


At 7:06 PM , Blogger Herding Grasshoppers said…

Good for you, Sheila!

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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