School returns and it’s all about the football boots…
OK – here’s the thing. My mother was a post war “waste not want not” type. When I was a kid, I had one pair of shoes. She didn’t believe in my having a separate pair of shoes for home. Kind of embarrassing when you’re 14 and your school shoes are the black lace-up variety, similar to the ones nurses wore in the 1970’s! What’s more, she believed in either making clothes, or buying “something sensible” that “would last”.
So for years, I was subjected to: trousers with four inch turn ups, belted round the waist to stop them falling down; a school jumper that looked like a dress, until my final year, when I’d almost grown into it… almost; and home made, rust colour knickerbockers, which I wore whilst my friends were shoe-horning themselves into the tightest drainpipes from Top Shop.
And so yesterday, I found myself sitting next to my grinning child in the shoe shop. His expression worried me. Like some demented, brainwashed, cult follower… he sat down next to me carrying an offensive pair of football boots! The boots he was holding were so dreadful, I was actually, for once, lost for words. Had they been designed by a blind person? Or maybe just a colour blind person? Or perhaps, they were designed as a joke, but the footballers were too dumb to get it…
I just don’t know how they came to be - for goodness sake, they're purple and yellow.... But that kid wanted those shoes. I mean he really wanted them. I could tell that he would find any reason to reject every other shoe in the shop.
So what was I to do? I couldn’t help blurting out that they were, without a doubt, the most hideous football boots I had ever seen… Strangely, my dislike of them seemed to make them even more desirable!!
I sat there looking at my converse trainers. The same style of converse trainers I had so desperately wanted as a child – but had not been allowed. I bought them a while ago, because I had always hankered after them as a child and now, as an adult, it was my choice whether I got them or not. So I bloody well bought them. And I don’t care if no one else likes them – because I like them.
And so, with a sigh, I decided that he should have them. We had a little chat and made a deal. The deal was that he can have the ones I hate – on the condition that I don’t have to pretend to like them… he’s cool with that… In fact, more than that…. I think it actually adds to the pleasure!
Finally, we got home. He proudly took the shoe box out of the car and ran to our neighbours house to show off his new boots. A few of the other kids in the road appeared and all of them stared into the box.
When I saw the look of pride in his face and the appreciative looks from his peers, I knew I had made the right decision. And when he grows up, I hope he will remember them fondly. They’re not practical and they won’t last… but by god, he’s going to enjoy wearing them.
Isn’t that what growing up is all about…?