My son is the proud owner of some excellent new shoes: red Converse high tops.
I confess I have wanted a pair of Converse sneakers for a long time. I wore them when I was a teenager and I loved them even though they made my feet look freakishly long and I tripped over the toes. Actually those may be the very reasons I loved them.
I nearly bought a pair this winter but decided to wait until spring, choosing to purchase a pair of more practical mom shoes, sort of "dress up" shoes, footwear better suited for the weather and attending meetings with professional people who had the bizarre opinion that I should comport myself like an adult woman.
But during some late night insomnia fueled internet searches, I found myself on the Converse web site and enjoyed playing around with their custom shoe design feature. I designed a pair of kick ass shoes, all black and red with some other cool embellishments to set them apart, to make them my very own, not the least of which was having the word "left" embroidered on BOTH shoes, in small script on the back. Yeah, that's me.
But I did not feel like shelling out the $75 right before Christmas so I bookmarked the page, fully intending to buy my custom high tops, my dream shoes, my perfectly nerdy fabulous me shoes, in the spring.
If I haven't made it clear I was very excited about owning a pair of Converse high tops and I was planning to buy a pair this spring...like you know, now.
Because it's spring.
So back to not me, my son, he has a pair of excellent red Converse high tops, he picked them out at the shoe store and he feels cool, so so cool. He is naturally cool anyway but his footwear just highlights the cool for those too blind to recognize cool when it's not wearing Chuck Taylor Converse High fucking Top sneakers.
I started wondering if I should buy my custom sneakers, you know, because some kids might find it weird or uncomfortable if their mom had a pair of shoes so similar to their own and a 10 year old boy's ego is a fragile thing. So I asked my son if he would mind if I bought my own high tops, not the same color, of course. He looked at me earnestly and said, "I'm sorry Mom, but, you know, uh...no offense Mom, but I would rather you didn't." I told him I understood and I was completely okay with that and would respect his wishes. I thanked him for being honest, gave him a hug, and we went on with our lives.
You know, I'm not totally okay with having to put aside my childish desire for awesome shoes. As parents we put aside and make sacrifices all the time and while that's how it's supposed to be I won't pretend that I always make the sacrifices with a happy heart. My kids don't need to know that, but that's the truth.
It occurred to me recently though, that one of the unspoken and ugly responsibilities of parenthood is embodying the uncool. Our children need to reject us on some level in order to become autonomous, to become fully themselves and so we need to make ourselves reject-able. We need to be reject-able and we need to do this with a loving heart. Wear the stupid shoes and rejoice!
One day it'll be my day to get spiffy in my cool shoes. One day.
In the meantime I'll go shopping for shoes for myself and I'll pick out a pair of appropriately dorky mom sneakers. I'll do it for my boy. I won't be offended when he says something like, "No offense Mom, but I think your new shoes are sort of ugly. I mean that in a not mean way, you know, right Mom?" And I'll say something like, Yes son, yes yes, I know, no offense taken I love you you darling sweet darling and I'll grab him and kiss his little face all over with big loud mom kisses, embarrassing him to no end, and he'll try to get out of my grasp but I'll get one more good noisy smack in before I let him go. And then I'll probably sing and dance in public, you know just for good measure.
For Every Season (turn turn turn),
There is a Sneaker (turn turn turn),
There is a Sneaker (turn turn turn),
And a time for every mother to know when she can wear the cool shoes she wants, and that time is not now, Mom.
Isn't that how the song goes? Pretty much?