We stood in line, my wife and I, and we each had a couple of items in our hands.
I looked again at the trendy shirt in my hands and checked the price tag one more time to see if it had changed from the dressing room to the front of the store.
It hadn’t. It still read $98.
I told my wife I was going to put it back.
“Honey, if you want it, you should get it. You work very hard. You can treat yourself sometimes.”
She was right. I did want the shirt. And I do work hard. And I don’t treat myself often … or at least when it comes to clothes. I still have clothes I wore in college, which in a way is nice to know that I am still the same size and weight as I was a dozen years ago.
Yet, I got out of line and put the shirt back.
Because in my head I kept thinking about my kid.
A hundred bucks is a lot of diapers, or shoes, or baby food, or whatever for a kid. I could easily take that C note and put it into her college fund. I just had the thought that anything I spend on myself is akin to literally taking something out of my child’s life.
As we walked out of this store, surrounded by teenagers and single people with disposable incomes, it hit me about why you don’t see many parents on the cutting edge of … well, anything.
That’s why there are things called “Mom jeans” and stereotypes of dads in Hawaiian shirts, or dorky sunglasses, or hairstyles, clothes, or sayings that are way behind the times.
Maybe I should just start saying things like “Bomb dot com” or “All that and a bag of chips.”
It would help me better infiltrate dad circles.
Most every parent with some form of a conscious wants their kid to have a better life than they did. It’s exactly what I want for my child. So I didn’t mind walking out of the super trendy athletic store without one more item.
But this doesn’t mean that there isn’t some form of selfishness I am still going to maintain. There are things I am going to refuse and those things include Coors Light, bad wine, and actively walking into a thrift store when it’s not Halloween time.
Although I still have to think that in the near future my daughter is going to want 27 different pairs of shoes, complain that she has nothing to wear even when her closet is full, need a new uniform for some activity she’s involved in, or have to receive some form of higher education someday.
But that doesn’t mean I am just going to give up on wanting to enjoy my life a little. I mean, in terms of the food chain, I am higher than she is.
So here is my list of things that Ella is just going to have to live with because I won’t compromise on:
1. Good beer
2. Good wine
3. Good food
4. High speed internet
5. The extra tier of sports channels in the cable package
6. A car that isn’t 10 or more years old (unless it’s a classic car I buy as some midlife crisis thing)
7. Clothes or shoes that have holes in them
8. A cleaning lady
9. Vacations (sans kids)
10. Anything my wife wants because she needs to be happy too
And I guess that’s why I don’t have a fun, trendy shirt today.