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.