Tonight as my daughter was brushing her teeth, she asked me, “Mommy, can I wear my boots to school tomorrow?”
Puzzled, I replied, “What boots? You don’t own boots.”
She whined, “Yes I DO. I DO have boots. I want to wear them tomorrow!!!”
I thought about it for a bit and said, “Well, you have your pink rainboots (gift from Taiwan, which she never ever wears), is that what you want to wear tomorrow?”
She hesitated just slightly and then smiled, “Yes! I will wear my pink boots. Then I will show M and G (friends at school) that I have cowgirl boots, just like them!”
I wasn’t really prepared for my own strong reactions to what she said, but all of a sudden, I had a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach, as I had flashbacks of being the daughter of immigrant parents who didn’t know any better about “brand-names”, memories of wearing clothes from K-Mart while my classmates wore cute outfits from The Gap; begging my parents to buy me a pair of Keds but being disappointed when they told me that my plain white canvas sneakers without the essential royal blue rectangle label looked basically the same.
I didn’t say anything in reply to my daughter, but I ruminated upon it as I was cleaning up the kitchen after she went to bed. When my husband got home, I told him the story and before I even finished, he interrupted me and said, “Well…why aren’t you dressed? I thought you would already be out the door?!” He understood.
And that is why I ended up at Target at 10pm on a Wednesday night, spending $60 on two pairs of pink and purple little girl boots (I couldn’t make up my mind about the color), not wanting to risk any chance that my daughter will grow up feeling like I tried to pass off her plastic rainboots as cowgirl boots. Am I just being crazy? At least I’m not buying her boots from some fancy kids boutique shoe store…if only those stores were opened until 10pm…