Last night, myself and two other fairly new mommas sat in an 80 degree living room. Another young couple was there along with a father and his teenage son. The smell of the house seemed familiar and the animal figurines and animal trophy heads mounted all around the room spoke of a long life lived.
Madeline slowly walked over to a chair situated behind a small TV tray, took a seat, and without introducing herself told us to open up our books to page two, from which she would begin her lecture.
Madeline, at eighty-six years old, is still an avid huntress and sportswoman. She still frequents the shooting range for target practice, saying that after a couple shots she simply has to take a break because she’s clearly getting old and her body isn’t what it used to be. And in some of her free time, she teaches a free Hunter’s Safety class targeted at young people. She says she wants the next generation to have the opportunity to enjoy the sport of hunting as she has for so many years now.
I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed her class. To put it bluntly, I don’t think I’ve ever been more bored in my entire life. At the forty-five minute mark of the class I began watching the clock as if it were about to explode. The minutes crept by as Madeline, ever so slowly, read to us the hunter’s safety manual. Thank the heavens for the few videos she showed that broke up the four hours of painful listening.
My two friends and I, all with babies ranging from three to six months old, decided that it would be fun to take this class. Since our husbands are all into hunting, our natural thinking was that if we got our licenses we could someday join them on their hunting excursions. I also wanted an opportunity to wear my cute camo hat.
For myself, part of the motivation to do these sorts of things comes from the way I romanticize certain notions in my mind. Oftentimes, my romantic daydreams don’t accurately mirror reality, therefore, making me prone to experience disappointment.
Example- Daydream: In my mind, I saw my husband and I, decked out in camoflauged clothing, treading through the woods. We had excitedly jumped out of bed while it was still dark outside. On the way to where ever we were going, naturally, we stopped to pick up some coffee and donuts for sustenance. Then we marveled at the rising sun and the stillness of nature. We admired the animals and hummed along with the morning birds. We were on a hunt together and experiencing such meaningful quality time as a couple.
Reality based on what I’ve learned in class so far: Hunting is messy. It’s hard work. It takes a ridiculous amount of preparation. It’s more expensive than I thought. And I have literally burst into tears before upon hitting a possum and a baby quail with my car. Not to mention, I have a history of saving drowning bees and other helpless insects from lakes or swimming pools.
Besides my daydreaming, the idea of taking the class struck me as empowering. As a new mom and all, sometimes I find myself wanting to prove to myself that I’m still tough and adventurous. This is why a few weeks after giving birth I started playing around with the idea of signing up for a Tough Mudder race…that is, until I found out that you literally get shocked with live wires and have to throw yourself into freezing cold water. I quickly decided that maybe I should instead exert my toughness by scrubbing my toilets really, really fast.
Nevertheless, I signed up for the Hunter’s Safety class. The worst part is that in order to take the test and receive my license, I have to go back to Madeline’s house tonight for four more hours of torture.
Maybe when this is all said and done I’ll actually go on a hunting adventure or two with Jon. Then again, I think I’d probably be much happier just shooting targets at the range and feeling like a freakin’ she-woman warrior in doing so.
Main thing I’ve gotten from the class so far: Jon and Cameron can go hunting and I will be perfectly content in making the welcome home meal and painting my nails while they are away.