Friday, August 1, 2008

Play-dough, Pony Tails and Pride

Ya wanna know something I don’t really like? That’s gotta be those character shoes that are so marketed out there these days. You’ve seen ’em. The ones with Strawberry Shortcake, Barbie, Transformers, or Elmo on them. I don’t like those shoes. Are you with me on this? Really, I shouldn’t care, but I do. I do! I have made it through six years without having to get those things for my kids. Don’t know why I don’t like ‘em, just don’t.

So yesterday I took oldest daughter to get school shoes, since school starts on Monday. I know! We are still at the VERY BEGINNING of August. Um, one question: who starts school during the MIDDLE of summer break? We do, that’s who. It stinks.

Back to the shopping trip. We enter the store and right there, displayed proudly on the window, is Hannah Montana. They have Hannah Montana shoes. Oh, ARE YOU SERIOUS? I can’t turn around, oldest daughter has seen Hannah and can’t wait to get in there to see what kind of Hannah Montana shoes are inside. The sales lady measures oldest daughter’s foot and the whole time I am stressing about how to get out of buying “character shoes”. (I think I already mentioned I don’t like those kind of shoes. But do you get it? I just don't like those shoes.)

Sure enough, the first pair of shoes oldest daughter sees are white plastic looking tennis shoes with a guitar going down one side and a very poor likeness of Hanna Montana on the other- gold shoe laces and all. I am horrified! She hurriedly grabs those shoes and shoves her very narrow feet right on in. A pretty decent fit. She is excited. I am nervously pointing at other pairs of shoes, trying to turn her attention away from the shoes at hand. My strategy backfires, as right next to the shoes I am trying to sell her on is another style of Hannah Montana. In all, we tried on 6 different Hannah styles. And I was getting more and more bummed with each pair.

Just then, a stroke of genius luck. Oldest daughter begins to pout because the store doesn’t have her fave version of the shoe in her size. This is my chance! I proclaim I will not tolerate pouting and we are leaving THIS INSTANT without shoes! I admit, pretty lame of mom. Oldest daughter is more than sad, she is experiencing the deepest depths of despair. We pack up our gear, strip the four-sizes-too-big shoes off little son’s feet that he has been clomping around in since we entered, and walk out into the 2,000 degree summer sun. Because, that is a better alternative to being in a shoe store with a pouting daughter who insists upon Hannah Montana shoes.

Reflecting upon this experience over the last 24 hours has led me to this conclusion: WHO CARES? Shoes are shoes, right? Of course, the ultimate thing I want is oldest daughter’s happiness. And why does it matter what or who is on the shoes, as long as it is not inappropriate? This shoe-tastrophe was all about me. Me! ME! ME!!!! Darn that pride! Why do parent’s ideals sometimes get in the way of their children’s welfare?

I am reminded again of a huge role model in my life, Marjorie Hinckley, who stated in an awesome book that it was her belief that we should say “YES!” to our children as often as we can, when it does not interfere with what is truly best for them. When I originally read this from her, I felt it. Right through my whole being. I agreed. I put it into motion and began to say yes to the things that had inconvenienced me before. Yes, you can play with play-dough, yes you can paint with watercolors, yes you can blow bubbles, yes you can brush my hair and put it in 14,000 little pony tails. These are things that make my kids happy. It applies to shoes, too. I remember being young- a long time ago- and wanting something so badly, yet feeling like I needed to please my mom and get the shoes, shirt or pants she picked out. I don't think she was aware of the need I felt to please her by choosing what she suggested. And I know it was not intentional on her part, but I don't want my kids to feel that. It took me a long time to realize that my mom's feelings would not be hurt if I didn't choose what she picked out. I want my kids to select what they like- I want them to create their own identity and be strong and confident in who they are.

Yes, oldest daughter, you can get those shoes. We are going to the shoe store tomorrow- first thing.

10 comments:

Sandi said...

Did you check the school policy on shoes? I think it says tennis shoes. Just an idea. Good luck!

Shannon said...

I used to dream of being the parent because I would have all the answers and life would be easy. Now, I'm learning that I don't have all the answers, my life is easier in some ways, but harder in others--especially when it comes to letting them make their own decisions. Good for you for letting her choose, especially on the not-so-important choices right now. It's good practice for both of you for when they are-so-important ones. Does it ever get easier, though?

uniquelynat said...

good for you!! i am still not at the point where i can let mine get the ugly shoes. i don't like them. i can't be ok with it yet. maybe some day i will get to that point....but not today.

Sarah said...

Good advice from Sister Hinckley. Just think - it could be worse - like Bratz... Best wishes to Q on her first day of first grade!

Ruth P said...

That is so funny, because we just got back from school shoe shopping too! My cute five year old ended up picking shoes out that I didn't think were NEAR as cute as the ones I liked, but she sure danced her way out of the store with her new shoes! Thanks for reminding me about Sis. Hinckley's words. I remember years ago when you shared that "saying YES" quote with me (it pierced me to the core too) and it still comes to me when the girls want to have a picnic, outside, in 110+ degree weather...

Claire said...

I have always tried to live Sis Hinkley's way. Be grateful it is cute shoes and not really ugly growths of hair on the end of a 16 year olds chin.

Brendan, Calli, Taylor and Keaton said...

Brendan and I both really enjoyed this post! It was fun to read about an experience we know we'll have, and the quote from Sister Hinckley fit perfectly! You are a great mom, and we miss you guys!

Heidi said...

Oh yeah...so sick of all the marketing out there for every character on the block. I haven't had to get serious about shoes yet but Elizabeth still had a melt down in the shoe aisle at Target yesterday. I, however found a great pair of clearance Sunday shoes for $5.74...the same ones I saw at the beginning of summer for $20. Sometimes it's about the deal too:)
Best of luck to her tomorrow... we'll be thinking of you!

E-Star said...

I know what you mean... I picked out the "cool" shoes for Anja just to be told that she didn't like them and they didn't fit right... this was our first lesson in fashion before comfort but she wasn't buying it. Thankfully she found some cute sketchers non character approved!

Kaylyn and Rob said...

We feel your pain. We just went through the exact same experience just last Sat. Only we came home with Transformer shoes. Thanks for the insight and helping me feel more at peace on this matter. It is only because of Rob that we came home with Transformer shoes. Thanks for helping me put my pride in line.