DSC_5422Family coming together can sometimes bring the worst out in us – and the best.

In this case, I’m thinking of a new ‘tradition’ that’s sprung up over the past few years with my wife’s family.

Nerf war.

A few chance gifts a few years back – mostly to the youngest cousins in the family has sprung up into something new to look forward to when we all get together.  While mostly reserved for the Christmas Season, there’s nothing that prevents the rest of the family from bringing their nerf wares to the next gathering of the whole clan.

DSC_5451So long as no one in your family is out to quench 30 year old vendetta or unload some brutally festering anger – it’s a great family thing to do.  Ok, maybe it does sound a bit ‘dangerous’ – a bunch of people from ages 2 to 87 bolting, sitting, standing, and walking all over the house in a friendly game of ‘Stratego’ – nerf style.  Yes, yes, yes. – “Someone’s eye could get taken out.” But even that could be averted with goggles for everyone.

One of the things I remember about my father-in-law is his statement about making memories.  He’s always quick to remind us in a moment that we’re ‘making a memory’.  I’m also quick to recall something an old college professor told me about taking pictures of my children (with me and their Mommy in the pictures) – the pictures become the memories my of my children.  More on that later and back to the nerf thing.

DSC_5413So pretty much everyone over the past few years has collected a few of the light-weight armaments and outfitted the family with roughly 600 or so darts (or whatever they’re called). It’s so interesting to see just how everyone plays this ‘game’.  It sort of reminds me of when I was much younger and my whole family played Monopoly for the first time after bringing it home.  I loved being able to see the sides of my parents (and siblings) in a way I wasn’t used to – it opened up my eyes to more of who they were – more of how human (and like me) they were.  Uncle Eric is the sure shot – he’s garnered tow pistols – one of which is a rather sure shot – and he uses it very well.  The oldest cousin this year got a rapid-fire thing – that holds some 60 darts at a time – with cartridges and it’s battery powered, though I’m sure this year his Dad made better use of it.  My wife and daughter even got bejeweled versions (a Pintrest co-opt I’m sure) this year, and we brought a few this year from last year.  One of the aunts even decided to basically horde all the darts during the game and force a run on the ammo just to keep the fun going.

DSC_5459There was so much laughter and fun!  Though I did take a chance to put down my rapid-fire model for my Nikon and grab a few not so great shots, some aimed directly at me.



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