That Time I Thought I Shot My Mom

It’s Friday the 13th.

Not too concerning to me because I’m not very superstitious. That happens over time as you realize that you have bad luck all the days of the of year.

I take normal precautions on this day; stay away from black cats, don’t go to summer camps, and cross the street to avoid machete wielding men wearing white hockey masks. Common sense.

I try to read the luck signs every day. You know, the days where you wake up, stub your toe on the trampoline in your living room, leave the house wearing one navy blue flip-flop and one black one, or that time I fumbled the jar of pickles carrying things in from Sam’s and had a pickle juice scratch-and-sniff driveway for a while. Incidentally, that was the same day that I pushed my dog off a bridge and The Onion horoscopes predicted it was the month of bad luck with bridges for Libras everywhere. Some days, it is glaringly obvious that you need to just stay home, and I have them a lot.

Beer, bait and ammo. credit:

In honor of the day of bad luck, I thought I would tell you about the time I thought I shot my mom, and didn’t touch a gun again for 20 years.

As some of you know, my Dad was a hunting enthusiast. That happens a lot to rural Texas men (and women); we like to own guns and kill things for sport. Not a stereotype if it is almost always true.

He tried to share this interest with me, and I appreciated the thought. I was his only daughter, and it wasn’t always his first inclination to treat me any differently than the boys, even though his views on women were quite Biblical.

He liked to shoot his guns off the back porch at targets in the evening while enjoying some cold Bud-Wiser. I had experienced the kick of one of the shot guns once, so I was already a little scared of shooting, but he really wanted me to get over my fears, and I really wanted him to love me.

He had an old .22 deer rifle. My oldest brother owns this gun today, and my niece shoots it all the time. It still scares the bejesus out of me. It really seems tiny and wimpy to me now, but I still carry it like it might go off on me at any second.

It had a trigger safety. For those of you that don’t know what that means, in order to put this gun on safety, you have to pull the hammer back with your fingers and pull the trigger a little so it will catch and stay in safety mode. My Dad was conducting gun safety training that evening, and I was a timid kid. I listened carefully to his instructions, but I had already decided that I couldn’t do it.

I told him as much, and I’ve learned over the years and advise others that the number one rule of avoiding my bad luck, is if I tell you that I am too scared to do something, just let me sit it out because something disastrous will always happen (there is a story about how I almost flipped a four-wheeler off a cliff with my brother’s best friend on the back in your future).

When I get nervous, my hands shake. I almost burned the MGM chapel in Vegas to the ground with a unity candle when my husband and I got married . Yes there is a video; I might even post it because it is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. I had no idea I was that nervous about getting married again.

So my hands were shaking, and sweating, and I had that feeling that something bad was going to happen. I begged him not to make me try it, but he didn’t like my wimpyness.

“Just put it on safety, Rachelle. It’s okay. You can do it.”  I took the gun awkwardly, pulled the hammer back with my seven-year old fingers, and pulled on the trigger like he told me to. Sure as shit, that gun went off because I pulled too hard and didn’t hold the hammer tight enough. I’m pretty sure I even had my head turned away and my eyes closed like a, well like a scared seven-year old girl holding a gun.

We were standing on cement when it went off. Of course it was pointed down like he told me, but the bullet went into the concrete sending shards of cement flying. One flew into my calf, and a bigger hunk flew at my Mom who was sitting nearby. Her hunk of cement hit her in the knee and we both started bleeding. And I started screaming. And crying. Full on hysteric mode because first I thought I had shot myself, but then I looked over at my mom’s bleeding leg, and genuinely thought that I had shot her. I shot my Mom…fantastic. Way to go, Rachelle.

She scooped me up and ran with me into the kitchen. I remember her holding my leg under the water, assuring me that she was fine, that I was fine, and to just calm down. I continued to wail, “I shot my Moooooom…” I can’t even imagine how she played off the fact that she was bleeding profusely to tend to what was a paper cut on my leg in comparison to the hunk taken out of her own. I mean, I can now that I have a daughter, but it still amazes me that she was able to react only to my need in that situation. She patched me up, and then I assume went into the other room to take care of her own pain and anger at the stupidity of the situation.

I have no idea why my Dad didn’t just take the bullets out of the gun when he saw how scared I was. Or, even if he didn’t sense the true extent of my fear, why he wouldn’t have let me learn that manuever on an un-loaded gun. This is the rational course of action in my mind today.

But it was the early 80s. In country time, it was probably still the early 70s, and I guess he was just more confident in my ability to not shoot myself and others than I was.

I had a very deep desire to impress my Dad, and that over-powered my ability to say no to something I was uncomfortable with, but the gun thing was not up for discussion after this. I didn’t touch another one until I was 27. I flat-out refused and it annoyed him that I wouldn’t get back on the horse, but I did not care.

My oldest brother has tried to help me overcome the fear recently. I shot a pistol and even shot this very same .22 again, but I’m not sure I will ever be truly comfortable with guns unless I work really hard at it. I’ll probably never be a great marksman or a hunter–it just seems too late in life to pick this up as a woman, and I’m not crazy about the whole cleaning your kill thing. I have watched my Dad field dress a deer and helped him process the meat at home, and it is really quite disgusting and tedious for a small payout of back strap venison, jerky or Bambi burgers.

The lesson, if there is one, is gun safety is important, as is a child’s readiness developmentally to try something like this.

But it is also that our fears can create these types of situations. I’m highly skilled at imagining the worst case scenario, and then my fear and timidness create a situation where I’m ignoring my own misgivings and firing a loaded gun into cement to try to gain someone’s approval. The object then becomes, not to avoid the situation, but to be aware of my tendency to do this in just about everything in my life and adjust my fears and my willingness to say no accordingly.

So, I’m sorry I almost shot you Mom. I love you!

Thoughts, reactions, gun safety, Friday the 13th, or other bad luck stories?


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27 thoughts on “That Time I Thought I Shot My Mom

    • Hahaha! I have a slight accent that comes out depending on where I am, but I mostly I get comments that I don’t sound like I’m from Texas. Until I say, I shot my Mooom, y’all :) I’m really glad no one got seriously injured here too.

  1. Great story, well, except for shooting everyone, of course! I’ve never understood the attraction of guns, but I’m a California beach kid not raised with them or the hunting thing! It is a little strange that your dad didn’t think to take the bullets out. Hind sight.

    Isn’t it amazing how when you are a child you will do almost anything for your parents’ love? You were a pretty brave 7-year-old in my book!

    • Thanks! Yeah, the ricochet was unfortunate, but it could have been a lot worse. I really don’t understand the attraction either, but I try to respect it, and do feel like I should know how to handle a gun properly should the need to do so ever arises. Thanks for commenting! Glad you liked the story, and the poster.

  2. What a great mom–I enjoyed the paragraph of her tending your wound over hers. Such is a mother’s love…

    And by the way, with lines like the following: “…and had a pickle juice scratch-and-sniff driveway for a while.”–you couldn’t get me away from your blog if you tried. :)

    • She is a great mom :) And Dad was a great Dad, just a little clueless about child development, I suppose. Hahaha! Glad you liked the scratch and sniff driveway. Please don’t ever leave my blog!

  3. Great post. A friend once took me hunting when I lived in Ohio. He turned to shoot a bird and the barrel was like three inches from my ear…which could have been my head…which houses my brain…which I think a bullet in the brain would have been bad. Anyway, not a big fan of guns.

    • That is a scary gun story too. I’m really not a fan of people who forget the gun safety rules, especially if they are aiming anywhere near my head or ears. A bullet in the brain would suck.

  4. You were only 7 years old, and it’s no wonder that you were traumatized by what happened. And no, the gun shouldn’t have been loaded, and put in the hands of a frightened 7 year old, to do something that sounds like an adult who is unfamiliar with guns might have difficulty with. I own and shoot guns, and it seems like a very poor design for putting a gun on safety, to have to partially pull the trigger – and most of all when the gun is loaded.
    None of this should have ever happened to you, and I’m sorry that it did.

    • It really is pretty simple when you understand what you are supposed to do and when my brother showed me again two decades later (unloaded), I felt really dumb for making such a big deal out of it. In some ways, I can understand my Dad’s frustration with me for being such a wimp about things, but I do wish he had taken this precaution, and waited a few more years to introduce the guns. I think stronger hands and less fear would have made a big difference. But he was a Dad of that time period, and I really don’t think he understood much about children, and even less about little girls. I don’t know. A sad accident, that I feel really lucky didn’t turn out any worse than it did.
      Gun safety is a serious issue to me, and I feel like everyone who is around them should be educated to respect them. And you know, to not shoot into concrete whenever possible :)

  5. Just about 3 months ago was the first time I would even touch a gun. The boy wanted me to go shooting with him and of course we had to do a gun safety thing in the living room. He checked, double checked, triple checked and quadruple checked each gun to make sure they weren’t loaded before letting me touch one. I was still terrified of them!

    Not saying that it was right or anything but I can kind of understand why your dad didn’t think about it. It was a simpler time then and thoughts of guns accidentally going off like that just didn’t cross a lot of minds back then.

    Yay for not shooting mom!

    • Good for you for trying! I honestly will probably continue to try to overcome my fears where guns are concerned.
      I understand why he didn’t think about it either. I never really blamed him for it; it was a different time and that was what he knew. He always tried to teach me to keep a level head, and not let fear get in the way of enjoying things. This one just kind of backfired on us both :) I’m so glad I didn’t shoot my mom!

  6. Things like this remind me of the time my dad had to break the mud out of my hair with a hammer. I’m glad you didn’t actually shoot your mom. I used to make abulance sounds when my children were hysterical after getting hurt.

    • Hahaha, breaking mud out of your hair with a hammer? Please post this story if you haven’t already, or link to it :) The key to all injuries is happy distraction, and ambulance noises probably work pretty well for the little ones.

  7. Wow, that is quite the experience to have as a 7 year old girl! “Some day, we’ll laugh at this…” I’ve never so much as held a gun, but I can relate to doing something I knew I shouldn’t do in order to appease my dad. He sent me toboganning down a hill from a particular spot, from where I could clearly see would lead me to a huge bump in the middle of the hill. He insisted I would be fine. My flying off the snow saucer proved my point. Not nearly as dangerous, but there’s my story. I’m glad you and your mom were ok!

    • We did laugh about it later :) much later, but we did!
      That is a scary one too. It’s funny what we will do to try to be brave for our Dads isn’t it?

  8. So funny! Good post.

    I think it’s good that your dad exposed you to shooting. The key is practice. I used to feel nervous about handling guns, but the more I do it, the safer I feel.

    • Glad you liked it.
      I think it is good too; who knows how good I would I be today if that had not happened.
      I rarely have the opportunity to practice these days because I don’t own any guns today, but when I’m out at the ranch with the family, I will probably make a point of trying to practice more.

  9. On April 13, 1975, the civil war started in Lebanon, and it lasted 17 years.If there was Internet and the web at that time, the war wouldn’t have lasted that long, I think.

  10. So I will assume there are no tiny scars to point out and lead into this story?
    No stories on my end. All fires were fully under control, and as a kid, I only had water guns, and a han solo type one that I really need to look for again. Hellyes I would play with it.

    • I do have a tiny scar! No one ever believes it is a gunshot wound though, and the picture makes the story much less dramatic :) I hope you find that Han Solo water gun. Sounds like a collector’s item!

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