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My son has an obsession. It’s not what I would consider a normal teenage boy obsession like comic books or collecting baseball cards or prank calling cute girls. He’s obsessed with sneakers and socks. Odd, yes?

The problem began back in the summer when he came home from hanging out at the mall with his friends. Of course being the involved parents we are, we grilled him when he got home. “Who did you talk to?” “Did you see anyone else you know?” “What stores did you go in?”, etc., etc. Usually we get the one word answers or grunts, but this time, he held a bag up proudly.

“I bought socks!”

Socks? My husband and I exchanged concerned glances. This is the boy who has an “emergency sock” collection at the foot of the steps, just in case he needs socks in an emergency. It’s more like he’s too lazy to bring the socks upstairs because he also has an “emergency sock” collection stuffed in the couch cushions.

So anyway, he was so excited to show us these socks that were “the comfiest socks ever”, oh and by the way, they were $16 a pair. Uh, what??? He did not even blink an eye when he said this so he obviously did not think that was a ridiculous thing to spend his allowance on when I would be quite willing to buy him packages of Hanes that include 8 pairs of socks for $5.

We laughed it off…and laughed at him, but if he wanted “special” socks, we were certain the novelty would wear off soon.

Nope…it got worse. A few weeks later, we asked him what he wanted for his birthday. Like Ralphie in The Christmas Story, he rattled off some make and model and color of some shoes.

Thrilled that he was finally giving us an idea for his gift, we asked for specifics, like where we could buy them and how much they were…you know, important stuff. It was then that he informed us that these shoes cost $120.

$120 for shoes???? I don’t pay $120 for sneakers and I’m a runner. We laughed for a few minutes (okay, several hours) and told him to find something else.

He flopped around, sulking for quite a few days, muttering under his breath about how unfair we were, blah, blah, blah, blah..

Then, the damn kid one up’d us. Since nobody knew what to get him for his birthday, everyone gave him money. What did he use the money for? You guessed it…the stupid $120 shoes.

We sighed, defeated, but we assumed it was a one time thing. How wrong we were.

A few weeks later, he came to me, waving his iPod in my face. “Look at these! I want these!” He was making me dizzy. I had to rip the iPod out of his hand to see what it was. My face fell when I realized it was another pair of shoes.

“Where did you get this picture?” I asked.

“Oh, its an app,” he replied.

“An APP?????? For sneakers?” I inquired incredulously.

“Yeah. It tells you the shoe’s release date,” he explained.

I had to sit down. This was hurting my head. “Release date? Like movies and music and books and stuff?”

“Yeah,” he nodded enthusiastically. “These come out Nov 5th and if we don’t get there at 7 am, they sell out.”

Oh, sell out…yeah, okay kid. Sure. Shoes don’t SELL OUT.

“I have enough money saved to buy them,” he volunteered.

“And how much would these be?” I asked while taking a sip of coffee.

“$140,” he deadpanned.

I spit coffee clear across the room.

Needless to say, we did not go to the mall at 7 am. In fact, we didn’t even go that day.

And you know what? The stupid %&$ shoes sold out just like he said they would. In fact, they had a raffle to be able to have the honor of purchasing these shoes. Because apparently, my son is not the only teenage boy obsessed with shoes.

After he got the shoes he wanted for Christmas, he went out THE VERY NEXT DAY and brought another pair with his Christmas money. And of course, matching socks for every pair.

He would look totally put together if the rest of his attire matched his socks and shoes. The other day he came downstairs with red and blue sneakers, red and blue matching socks, black and yellow hoodie and gray and green shorts. I turned to his father and said, “Get a load of that…he thinks he matches.” To which my husband replied, “He doesn’t???”

In the last five months I have stooped to a new low. I admit, I have scoured the mall(s) looking for the sneakers he wanted for Christmas (only because he won’t give us any other ideas). I’ve watch him proudly post pictures to Instagram of his newest kicks. I have tagged behind him on his sneaker quest many a Saturday afternoon. (The sneaker quests usually end in tears because “I told you we needed to get here when the store opened!”)

But anyway, why have we given into this obsession? Why have we allowed him to blow his shoveling money, gift money, etc.?

Because, like anything with parenting, there’s a lesson to be learned here. He’s going to want something soon…to go to the movies, buy a girl a gift, a video game…something. And he’s going to be broke. And bored.

But damn, he’s going to have the awesomest collection of shoes. That won’t fit him in two months because he’s growing like a weed. But that’s okay because right now the shoes he’s buying…are my size 😉

My son crying because we won't let him get yet another pair of shoes...
My son crying because we won’t let him get yet another pair of shoes…

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