Like taxes and death, there is one inescapable truth about life as a parent. Your kid is going to need new shoes, especially if your kid happens to be a teenaged boy. It doesn't matter how many pairs you've purchased in the past, your kid is going to inevitably grow, rendering his footwear obsolete.
It's like buying a new cell phone. By the time you get it home and set up, a newer model has already been released.
Teen boys and shoes are the low tech equivalent.
"Mom, I need new shoes."
"I just bought you new shoes."
"No, you bought me those shoes in the spring. They don't fit anymore."
Of course they don't. Teenaged boy feet don't care that you just porked out good money for sneakers only months before. Those bones are unstoppable. They just keep growing until your kid no longer has what resembles feet but instead has what resembles an oddly hairy ski stuck to the end of an equally hairy leg.
So I rolled my eyeballs and sighed heavily, a trademark of motherhood it turns out, decided grocery money was overrated and I drove the kid to the city to buy yet another new pair of sneakers.
That was in September.
It took four stores, three malls, two iced coffees and the patience of a saint, but we finally found a store that carried a sneaker large enough to shod my kid's feet. Apparently every teenager with overgrown hooves had beat us to the punch and picked an entire city and every surrounding community nearly out of all ski-sized sneakers before us.
By the time I got to that fourth store I was exhausted from being told there were no shoe sizes left in any of the shoes my son had deemed worthy of purchasing. So when the sales clerk approached us, I cut his sales pitch off at the knees and simply said, "Bring us all the giant-sized basketball shoes you have. I don't care what they look like. I don't care what colour they are. Just bring me the shoes."
My son tried to pitch a fit and impress upon me the importance of what the shoe looked like, but I was past caring.
"Don't mess with me kid or I'll find the sparkliest pinkest shoes in your size on the Internet. Anything is possible with the 'Net."
Nash knew I wasn't kidding and so he zipped it.
The sales clerk came back with three different options. All of them ugly, but all of them basketball shoes for kids with clodhopper feet.
After trying them all on, jumping around in the store like he was trying to rip the light fixtures from the ceiling and then minutes of gazing thoughtfully at each of the shoes while I practiced the motherhood trademark of sighing heavily and rolling my eyes, he chose a pair.
"Are you sure? Do they fit properly?"
"Yes, I'm sure. They fit."
"Are your toes touching the end? Do you have some room for those skis to grow? I don't want to be back here any time soon because these ones are too tight and your toenails are turning purple because the shoes are too small."
Which, you know, already happened the year before.
"No, they fit. There is loads of room for my toes to grow."
"Well I don't want loads of room Nash. I don't want them too big they become clown shoes while you're running. No one wants to pass Krusty the Clown the ball on the court."
"No MOM. THEY FIT."
I looked at him, I looked at the shoe and a voice in my head whispered, "The kid is almost 16. Surely he knows if his shoes fit properly. Give the kid a break."
Never listen to that voice.
So I cut him a break, stopped busting his chops and I bought the shoes. It cost me 160 dollars on sale, but I wasn't in a position to argue about cost since this was the only store I could find with shoes that size and they were all the same price.
My kid left happily clutching his new kicks and I left knowing we could always eat next month.
Fast forward to December.
"Mom, I think need new shoes."
"Like heck you do. I just bought you new shoes."
"I know, but I don't think they fit properly. I think they're too big."
"What do you mean they're too big?"
"My foot slides forward when I run and it feels awkward."
Cue the eyeball roll and the heavy sigh. So I did what any responsible mother with a limited income would do. I told him to suck it up and live with it. "Eat your vegetables and I'm sure your feet will grow soon enough."
I must have had a crazy look in my eye because suddenly my kid was eating every vegetable in sight and he never mentioned his shoes again.
I figured his feet finally grew because that's what a 16-year-old boy's will feet do. I figured wrong. I figured that out when I watched my kid limp out of practice the other day. "What happened?" I asked as he pulled his sock and shoe off to show me his feet. His entire heel was bruised.
"I keep landing wrong. My foot slides around and my heel is never where it's supposed to be." He looked at me with concern. "But don't worry about it, I'm sure my feet are growing."
Yes, just like his nose.
The boy brought his shoes home so his dad could check out the situation because apparently father knows best, and Bruce declared the shoe indeed too big. Thanks Tips.
Apparently the shoe was just a tad big. (My husband's highly scientific assessment, not mine.) It was nothing an orthotic insert couldn't fix and maybe some newspaper stuffed in at the toes. Okay, I was only half jesting when I suggested that. Maybe. Nonetheless, a solution was settled upon, the shoes placed by the front door with a fresh set of custom orthotics, the boy tucked into bed to watch (likely) inappropriate videos on his iPad and I set about making a grocery list. This month we'd eat.
That's when I looked up and realized my 225-pound Mastiff puppy had one sneaker hanging from his mouth and the other sneaker shredded around the living room floor. Apparently teenaged ski-sized shoes are mighty tasty puppy-nip.
I may have cussed. Loudly enough to pry the teenaged boy away from the (likely) inappropriate videos on his iPad and venture out of his room to see what all the commotion was about. The look on his face when he saw his cursed sneakers strewn in pieces around the room was similar to the look he has when he's ripping open his presents on Christmas morning. Complete glee.
"Hey Mom, guess what?" he asked I was bent over sweeping up the carnage while trying to keep the dog from snitching pieces of shoe out of the dust pan.
"What?" I snarled.
"I need new shoes."
I guess we'll eat next month. Worst case scenario: I've heard 225 pounds of dog can feed a family of five for upwards of weeks.