So what do a group of adults do these days to celebrate a family birthday? They ditch the kids and go to Laser Quest to shoot the crap out of each other. Or maybe that’s just my family?

Now don’t get me wrong, my mum’s side of the family is like the twenty-first century Waltons. On Facebook it’s all “Miss you Mary Ellen” and “Looking forward to seeing you next weekend John-Boy”, but, boy, are we competitive. My mum remarried a couple of years ago to a man she’d been dating for several years, and so our family grew to include 3 younger step-sisters, plus each of their boyfriends-of-the month. My brother feels quite keenly the regular torture, especially when my sisters are going through a phase of being single, of being surrounded by women, especially as his wife has given birth to two daughters and is pregnant with a third (and Jack clearly isn’t enough to tip the balance!). Oh, how I laugh!

I love my family, but I love absolutely destroying them as well. Apparently lasers aren’t good for unborn babies, and so my sister-in-law was forced to rest up in the snack area with a cup of tea and what I believe was a bowl of tomato sauce with a side of chips. My mum opted out of the game under the guise of nobly sacrificing herself to keep the mother-to-be company, but she wasn’t kidding me, I could smell the fear. I was kind of glad in a way because there are some lines you just can’t cross, and I think shooting your mother might be one.

Because we weren’t the only people in Laser Quest, unfortunately for them, we kicked my brother and husband on to the opposing team, consisting of four teenage girls, or “easy targets” as I like to refer to them, to even the sides out. Normally, because my brother is equally as competitive as me (and I think the blame for this lies squarely with our father) we opt to go on the same team whenever we play geeky family games – I figure it’s much easier to work with him than against him, and I think he’s realised how mutually beneficial this arrangement is. However, call me bloodthirsty, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to compete with a weapon against my husband and my brother, and so suggested we get rid of the “deadwood” of the group, and threw them to the harem.

We watched the safety video, in which we told not to run (really? Does anyone actually stick to that?), and how to re-energise our guns and take out the enemy base (vitally important information), and, once we were kitted up to look like extras in some low-budget sci-fi, space-based film, were introduced to the bases that were ours to defend for about fifteen minutes.

I won’t bore you with the details of every shot I fired, but rest assured they were plentiful. I kind of feel I border on being slightly bossy in these type of high-pressured, competitive situations; I’m the one who barks the orders and threatens to shoot my own men for mutinous or cowardly behaviour. Although, in this situation, I think the ends justifies the means, as my team, consisting of my three younger sisters, step-father and one sibling-boyfriend, and myself, of course, absolutely annihilated the others.

My brother went for stealth. Shame he’d chosen to wear a white t-shirt that glowed luminously in the dark! He blamed his “faulty” gun of course. How could he possibly have played to the best of his ability if “the piece of crap wouldn’t shoot”? As transparent as a window, little brother, I’m afraid.

Jack, on the other hand, in a desperate attempt to showcase his masculinity, went down the route of launching an array of gutsy but futile onslaughts on our base that were easily deflected by the sisters I’d carefully placed in a defensive line to protect our base. Is it completely wrong to admit that I experienced a little thrill of excitement whenever I was able to spring out and surprise my gorgeous husband, shooting him squarely in the chest, rendering his weapon useless for ten seconds? To feel a sense of smug satisfaction to see the realisation on his face that retaliation was impossible, and he’d had to accept the fact that the mother of his children had robbed him of yet another opportunity to assert any type of male dominance? Writing this, I have to admit I feel a little cold and aggressive…but not enough to regret seizing a ruthless victory.

Although I’m going to have mercy and avoid describing a blow-by-blow account of my efforts, I have to mention that I was the first to successfully infiltrate and annihilate their base. I realised at one point that, as a result of their total disorganisation and shoddy planning, they’d all launched an attack on our base and had left theirs wide open. Big mistake. I was able to charge in and blow up their base, setting off a screeching alarm announcing my personal victory. To be honest, I didn’t know what to do once I’d blown up the base, and so RAN (violating rule 391 of the Laser Quest Code) back to our base screaming all the way.

I like to think of my success in Laser Quest in three parts. 1: Our team battered their team, scoring three times as many hits. 2: I destroyed both my brother and husband completely, hitting them both at least four times more than the number of times either one had hit me. 3: I was proven to be the best Laser Questie (even a word?) of the day.

When your greatest achievements in recent years have included successfully potty training your toddlers and learning the dance moves to the Wiggles, you learn not just to take but to truly revel in your victories when you can.

Is it a bit weird that my family and I chose to go to LASER Quest for an adult birthday? We wanted to do something a little different, but don’t worry, we went for the conventional meal and a drink afterwards! Anyone got any suggestions for different birthday celebration ideas? It’s my step-father’s birthday next…