"Both of you get your teeth brushed and get to bed right now" my wife boomed as the bedtime clock tick tocked. "It's late and you both have to get up tomorrow." My youngest had tears running down his face and his whine meter turned up to 7 or 8. Just then Tanner emerged from his bedroom, camouflaged from head to tow with Bow and Arrows in hand. "Can I go out in the greenbelt and shoot my bow mom?"
"Absolutely not, it's bedtime! You need to get your pajamas on!"
For a sportsman dad like myself who has been trying to get his kid hooked on hunting since he was old enough to stand and fall on his face, the sight before me was like... I don't know what but I did know that I was soon going to be the defiant husband. "Get your boots on and get out the door Tanner. Go! Now!"
"Oh hell no! What do you think you are doing? He's got to get to bed!"
"Just five minutes babe." I pleaded
"Your five minutes is half an hour!"
"Yes. I know"
"This may be my proudest moment as a father and I'm going to run with it." I may have even lifted my chin and stuck my chest out as I wiggled through the slider. I think her face may have softened slightly. It could've been a trick of the fading afternoon light. In either case, Tanner and I found ourselves trompsing down the fire break in the open space towards our range.
We were free. We were wild. He shot arrows like a young man into a haystack and each hit or miss was a new discussion. A new equation where values balanced and life meant living right now. All that exists is the arrow. It's flight suspends time and catches us from floating off. Willing witnesses to gravities truth.
"Bullseye!" and indeed his premier shot was a centerpiece in a vast ocean of hay. I couldn't have placed it any closer with a point blank jab. And every shot after that fell away but we kept the bullseye arrow in. A tangible goal: he wants to split it in half like Robin Hood.
Each arrow is a new discussion, a gateway connecting our worlds: so far apart yet running in parallel circles.
We pull them out and start fresh but the bullseye arrow remains. Each arrow is a new conversation another leap of faith, another bond between us hammered home. That bullseye will always remain.