Friday, January 8, 2010

Allie's New Shoes

I think Allie's new shoes are just about the gaudiest pair of shoes I have ever laid eyes upon. Ben says they remind him of a pinker version of Dorothy's famous ruby red slippers. Allie, on the other hand, could not be happier that she is now the proud owner of glittering princess shoes laden with precious jewels and a pink satin bow.
When I took Allie to the shoe store in search of dress shoes, it will come as no surprise to you that the shoes pictured above were definitely not what I had in mind. I was actually quite determined to purchase some simple brown dress shoes. Allie actually tried on several pairs to my liking and was agreeable to their purchase before laying eyes upon the shoes of her dreams. As I sat there, staring in utter disbelief as Allie excitedly tried each shoe on and proclaimed them a perfect fit, I had a sort of epiphany.
Although Allie is only four years old, it is quite apparent that she is definitely her own person, complete with likes, dislikes, and opinions all of her very own. And, while I'm certainly not a fan of giving into her every whim (especially when it is blatantly disobedient, hurtful, or unkind), I'm starting to realize that I need to be looking for little ways to affirm her personality and guide her choices (when appropriate) as opposed to always making them for her.
So, in that shoe store while my daughter was beaming with joy as she pranced around the aisles in her about-to-be-new pink glittering dress shoes, I realized that the only reason I didn't want to buy the shoes she chose was because I didn't like them. The shoes Allie picked out weren't any more expensive than the ones I wanted to purchase (in fact, they were cheaper), they weren't inappropriate for her attire (hello...everything Allie wears is, in fact, pink), and she wasn't begging for them, insisting upon purchasing only those shoes, or demanding I do only what she wanted. She simply liked the shoes...and I didn't.
I know some of you are wondering why I'm making such a big deal out of the shoes. And, I know there are those of you that may disagree with my decision to get them for her. But, for me, Allie's new shoes serve as a reminder that my kids aren't always going to agree with me or choose the same things as I choose. True, they are both still very young, and I could have definitely squelched the whole sparkly shoe thing and insisted upon the brown ones and Allie would have complied and probably not thought twice about the incident after we got home, but I just couldn't do it. I just couldn't bring myself to force my opinion upon her when there was nothing wrong with her choice.
So, with the purchase of the pink sparkly shoes, I've resolved to be better about allowing Allie to be Allie. Obviously there are some parameters to this, like for instance we will not be painting her room hot pink or allowing her to never pick up her toys or letting her treat Zach unkindly, but I can be better at giving her appropriate choices and means of expression without imposing my own opinions.
For example, I'm not such a big fan of decorating the headboard of our bed. I like our simple suede headboard with its tufted buttons just the way it is. Allie, on the other hand, is much more satisfied with a headboard that is sufficiently decked out with sparkly beads, pink feather boas, Christmas ribbons, magic wands, and flowers made of k-nex pieces. And, while everything in me is screaming to put all of those beads, boas, and ribbons neatly away, I have resisted the urge because I know that it makes Allie happy and, when it comes down to it, there is nothing wrong with a fancy headboard. Just like there is nothing wrong with a four year old choosing pink glitter shoes.
I realize right now it is easy to come to this conclusion when the item up for disagreement is a pair of shoes. I'm sure as the kids grow, so will the disagreements. I don't necessarily look forward to the day when we argue over dates or curfews or colleges. But, I hope that I enter those times with a similar perspective...praying that God will be constantly working in my heart, directing my words and guidance so that it is rooted in His will for their lives and not merely for what I want or think they should choose.
I have a feeling that all this is easier said than done. Which means I better start praying now for God to be changing my heart...and continue looking for little opportunities He provides each day to put this selflessness into practice so that when those tougher arguments inevitably fall upon us in the future, I can think back to a shoe store and a precious little girl in pink sparkly shoes and how I decided to love her for simply being her, placing my trust in God to change the both of us.


Ava Is The Boss said...

What little girl doesn't love sparky pink shoes?

The Mulvihills said...

I think your attitude on this is correct. I remember being a little girl and not liking the clothing my mom would choose for me, and and also being sad because I couldn't wear what I liked. I have had similar issues with Jay...hence the Lightning McQueen t-shirts and red racing stripe pants! :)

jimwilcoxjr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle said...

Such a great perspective Jennifer!! Although I don't dare show Rachel the picture of these shoes or guess who will be buying them next -ha!

I have dealt with this many times with Rachel since she is so determined to be queen of her wardrobe. I can finally say I'm starting to loosen up a bit, although it's a little less "painful" in winter when we go out, cuz she's at least wearing a coat over the top half:) The layering just gets a bit crazy sometimes, as you can imagine!