Dylan just turned 9. Yikes. What does a 9-year old Eastside girl get for her birthday? Guns and knives. Not exclusively, although that would have been awesome. She also got, I don't know, other stuff that wasn't gun or knife related, like books and crafts. And those gifts perfectly tell the story of our Dylan. When she's not crafting, she's reading, and when she's not reading, she's shooting. I'm really just trying to raise her to freak boys out, even though I know this will backfire, because up here, "I'm a good shot," is a sure-fire way to get a boy's attention.
A couple weeks ago I took the kids to the bow shoot that a local organization sponsors. The Siskiyou Bowmen have a few courses that you walk through and shoot 3-D targets. Think miniature golf, but with weapons. They also have a kids' shooting competition, with three different age groups. Dylan is in the middle group. I stood back and watched as she was the only kid to hit the bullseye on her first shot (or any shot, for that matter). She won her entire age group and came home sporting a new Siskiyou Bowmen hoodie as her prize. I was awfully proud of my little junior badass.
We've introduced Dylan to the world of BB guns. For me, a BB gun was a great tool for shooting my friends, but I'm really stressing to her that "shoot the bellybutton" wasn't as fun a game as it sounds. She's been spooked by shooting rifles, mostly because of the noise, so BB guns are a nice introduction. I honestly thought she might not be interested in it at all. She'd thank us sweetly for the gift and hide it under her bed with her Lalaloopsy dolls. But, like her bow, she loves target shooting. I took the balloons from her party outside and she was in love at first pop.
With her new birthday knife in her pocket, and her bow and rifle by her side, I sometimes feel like we're raising a nutty survivalist. Then I see Dylan with her nose in a book or making animals out of paper clips and old erasers and I breath a sigh of relief -- whew, she's definitely nutty. No, I know she's balanced. And unless I see her studying the pages of 1001 Uses for Your Bunker and crafting tactical tomahawks for the family, "For when shit goes down," I won't worry. She's the perfect balance of smart and tough, cute and killer. So when the zombies attack, the Canadians invade, or Donald Trump gets elected, and you see a cute girl in braids holding a bow, get behind her, she'll get you through.