Wasn't long and they were back up to the counter with a couple hundred dollars of western clothing for the girl. There was a problem though. The young girl had sent (via cell phone) a picture of the boots to her friend, who had declared them 'ugly'. She was not sure that she wanted the boots. The father stood by patiently as she texted her friends to do an informal poll. He explained that she was headed to Pittsburgh this weekend to see Taylor Swift in concert.
After some texting and agonizing, the father said to me, "These boots? Are they the sort of boots that anyone wears?" I laughed a little. "These are Ariat boots and they are the nicest boots we have. These are what the horsewomen wear." He said, "Okay..." and turned back to his daughter who was standing by her brother, still texting wildly about the boots. They all were such a unlikely trio. The father looked like Sgt. Carter from Gomer Pyle, with the buzz cut. The boy had long hair and a double lip piercing. The girl looked like a blonde rodeo queen. After about five minutes, her friends decided that the boots were acceptable after all, and so they came to the register and paid for their purchases. The girl explained what sort of shirt she'd need to go with the everything, and her father said, "Well, we'll hurry up and go to the mall."
I've been thinking on this. You know, the concert tickets weren't cheap, I imagine, and they've still got to get that girl to Pittsburgh, food and lodging on top of all the clothing. I wondered what it would be like just to do this sort of thing, just give a night like this to your children without thinking twice about it. Suddenly, I found myself wishing I could have been generous and openhanded like this with my kids, even as I thought, "No. It's not good for a child to be given everything that they want." Wanting stuff is a powerful motivator. Kids will work like crazy if they want something.
I don't know. I watched them walk out the door, the three of them deep in conversation. They seemed like a close family. And I found myself torn between wishing it would have been different for my own kids, and knowing that it worked out perfectly fine anyway.