Several weeks back, Brad asked me if I would buy him some new athletic shoes. He wanted a pair to wear, specifically, for PE. Alright, I told him. We were in the mode of purchasing school items for him, in preparation for a great 8th grade year.
So, one night, off we went to the mall, in search of an appropriate workout-type shoe. Mr. Fashion savvy didn't want just any pair, but something he'd look cool in. I was fine with that. No problem. As long as the shoes were comfortable, and motivated him to jog the track, and engage his athletic skills in any, and all, activities.
As we walked into Footlocker, Brad immediately darted to the right, to the running shoes. Running shoes in all kinds of colors. Standard colors, like dark blues, grays, and white. But what caught his eye were the bright, trendy shoes. Not only were they meant for a good jog, but they were full of charisma. They were a major fashion statement. And Brad wanted a pair.
I liked the shoes. Thought the bright highlighter yellow (and orange, and blue) looked pretty cool. So hip. So in fashion. So stand-out-look-at-me kind of shoes.
After a few trial runs in the store, it was decided. Brad really, really, really wanted the shoes. So, I paid for them, and we left as a huge smile spread across gotta-have-swag's face.
A few days later, after his first, or maybe his second, day of school, Brad hopped into the car. Mom, don't get mad he stated. Me? Mad? Never! I laughed. But he was serious. And so was I actually. I was willing to hear him out. See his side of things. No matter what the issue. So I asked him what's up? Bottom line - he didn't want the shoes anymore. They are way too bright, he told me.
He hadn't even worn them to school, and none of his friends had even seen them yet, but for some reason he was worried they would razz him for such different, not-your-standard pair of workout shoes. I was okay with that. I was a kid once, too. And I could remember wanting to fit in. So, I told him not to worry. It was fine. And that we'd return them for another normal pair. Sorry Mom, he told me. I knew he felt bad, and also knew it was pointless to make him feel worse.
The shoes are tucked quietly in his closet waiting to be returned. Waiting to be re-shelved in hopes of some other fashion-forward guy committing to them, for the long haul.