Here is the promised dart gun story from the past.
In 1985 we took the kids to San Diego for a long anticipated vacation. We had rented a condo that overlooked a sailboat filled marina. It was beautifully decorated, the view was spectacular, everything was perfect. When we had unlocked the door, pushed it open and started to come in and Hillary actually backed up. “We don’t belong here,” she said.
“What? This is the right place. They key works. It’s paid for. What’s the matter?”
“This is too nice for us,” she said.
Right then I knew something was wrong in the Universe. My precious child, this eleven-year-old-Utah girl who was bright and happy and well adjusted, who always saw the good in life, did not think she belonged in a nice place. She was a daughter of God. He wants to give her all the good things in life but she had forgotten. She had forgotten and was not feeling worthy.
Some of the kids bustled past her and she got pushed in. When we got all the luggage in we tried to explain about why we belonged here. She wasn’t buying it.
I went into the bedroom and unpacked one of the suitcases because it contained a secret and as much as I wanted everyone to get unpacked—as much as I wanted them to unpack and not have to do it myself, I knew this was more important.
“Here,” I said to everyone, tossing them a package. “Let’s play.”
“Wow! Do you mean it?” they asked as they each grabbed and tore the wrappers off.
“Get ready,” I said. “Get set. Go!”
Darts flew everywhere. Guns were re-loaded and more darts flew. They ran to hide behind walls, peeking out to take aim and dodge darts. They ran behind couches and chairs and crouched down, loading and shooting.
Finally everyone’s dart guns were empty. They emerged like hungry locusts, running and snatching darts from all over the room. Phil was as busy gathering darts as the kids.
Another furious round of dart-gun-war began. Everyone laughed. Everyone scurried. Occasionally someone said, “Oh, you got me!” Sometimes they fell on the floor, holding their chests.
The only rule was: don’t aim for the face. Someone--you know who you are, my wicked children--didn’t listen and Phil took a dart exactly in the middle of his forehead. Play was halted long enough for me to take a picture and for the kids to scream with laughter and then the furious darts resumed, like wasps from a threatened nest.
The war lasted four hours. Four hours! Honest it did. I quit after about fifteen minutes and unloaded suitcases, put clothes away and fixed dinner. I would peek into the living room/dining room occasionally and a dart would whiz past my head.
“I’m not playing,” I’d yell.
It didn’t matter, three our four more darts would be launched in my direction. Phil was so tired by this time that he sat at the dining room table and only got up to replenish his dart supply. His shirt was wet with sweat. The kid’s hair was wet around the hairline. They will sleep good tonight, I thought.
By the time dinner was ready there was no more “I’m not worthy” thoughts. We had taken the condo by the throat and made it ours. A sack full of dart guns, a savvy mother and a good war will do that every time.