I'm going deer hunting for the first time this weekend. My brother-in-law is an avid hunter and owns enough rifles to equip the Peruvian army, so he is graciously allowing me to borrow one. I've enjoyed getting outfitted for the trip, picking up the blaze-orange parka, snow pants, hoodie, hat, and gloves, as well as the long underwear and heavy socks. Come Saturday morning, I will be the definition of haute couture, ready to stylishly enjoy nature and look for that 16-point buck. Should be a blast.
Of course, telling my kids about the hunting trip is not as fun. Brady and I were talking about dinosaurs last night and he said he wanted to go to the museum and see some. He likes to watch a show called Dino Dan in which 8-year-old Dan has computer-generated dinosaur friends to play with, so Brady thought that the dinos we see at the museum would lick his hand like a dog. He was crestfallen to learn that dinosaurs have been extinct for a little while now, and when I told him that the dinosaurs we see at the museum will be fossilized bones, he got a little teary-eyed and asked, "Are they all dead?"
It's a matter of course to us grown-ups, but how do you break this stuff gently to kids? As parents, we have to walk the fine line between sheltering our kids and overexposing them to life. They have such big tender hearts, which is just one of the many things that make them so dear. I know it's part of the deal, but I surely don't love taking any of the wonder out of their world.
So needless to say, I probably won't be telling Brady the purpose of the hunting trip, at least for a few more years. For now, I'd rather he see Bambi as a cute cartoon than white-wrapped packages in the freezer.