A 22 Gauge for a 10-year-old??

My ex-husband and I communicate pretty well. We try to keep each other informed of all extracurricular activities, grades, anything unusual going on, disruptions in the schedule, etc. We always talk before Christmas and birthdays to see what gifts the other is buying and to ensure the kids don’t get a bunch of duplicates.

J’s birthday is only one week before Christmas so we really have to be careful with duplicates for him. It also makes it hard to come up with “enough” presents at times. “A gaming chair” is what Troy told me he was getting J for his tenth birthday. But when I asked about Christmas, he kept saying he didn’t know yet. I finished my shopping and gave him the entire list so he knew what not to buy.  I also gave him the perfect idea for our 12-year-old daughter.

The kids and I wake up Christmas morning at 5:45 a.m. They excitedly open each and every gift. A is mostly enthused about her makeup bag and Twilight movies.  J was thrilled to get a bike and movie posters for his room. After a nap and a few hours of checking out their new stuff, Troy picked them up. They were excited to see that side of the family. I picked them up at 3:30 to head to my mom’s. Their smiling faces greeted me at the door. “I got a foot spa,” A said with lots of energy. I knew she’d love it. J didn’t say much. We got in the car and I asked J what he got. “A flashlight and a 22.” I couldn’t have heard him right so I asked again. “I said I got a flashlight and a 22 mom.” I then asked what a 22 is. I knew but I thought there must be something else called a 22. He’s only 10 and this was not discussed with his mother at all. No way would anyone, even his dad, buy him a 22… so I thought. “It’s a rifle mom.” I then asked if it was a real rifle. It was.

I don’t think I even blinked for five minutes. We just sat there in the car. I was in shock. I debated going back inside to ask him what he was thinking but his parents and extended family were there and I didn’t want to cause a seen.

Troy bought J a BB gun at age 7 and a bow and arrow at 8 and I thought he was too young for those but I gradually adjusted. They only use the BB gun and bow and arrow for target shooting at Troy’s grandpa’s house out in the country. And to be honest, I had a BB gun around 7- or 8-years-old. Other than that though, I was never raised around weapons of any kind. Guns scare me. You can say guns don’t kill, people do but hey, accidents happen. People wouldn’t die of gunshot wounds if the other person didn’t have a gun.

 J doesn’t want to hunt so I really don’t get the point of this at all. He told me that he is excited about the gift though and can’t wait to go target shooting.

I’m still upset and conflicted over the whole thing. Do I confront his dad? Do I forbid J from keeping the gun and shooting with anything more than a BB gun? Or do I let it go and trust that his dad will keep him safe?