We’ve lived in this small Texas town for nearly five years, and in that time, my son has become quite the cowboy. Not the bull-riding, calf-roping kind, though he’d surely give those sports a go if we had bulls. Or calves. But despite his lack of opportunity as a cattleman or a rodeo star, he’s developed the cowboy sense of style. And he wears it well.
Add to his fashion sense the fact that he’s 6’4” and still growing, and you have one long, tall Texan. Top that off with a black suede hat, and he’s easy to spot in a crowd.
Cowboy style is harder to put together than it looks. You have to have the right western-cut shirts. The right belt with the right oversized buckle. The right jeans, with a certain kind of stitching. And perhaps the most important piece of the fashion equation is the boots.
In case you’ve never been shopping for cowboy boots, let me say, even the low-end ones are pricey. And the high-end ones are waaaay out of my pay grade. And since his feet grow faster than a chia pet, a significant portion of my yearly salary has to be set aside just for western foot fashion.
A little over a year ago, I decided to splurge and buy the boy a nice-ish pair of boots. Not the thousand-dollar ones, mind you. I bought him a solid mid-range pair in hopes he wouldn’t outgrow them before he wore them out.
I got my wish.
While the rest of him has continued to stretch longer and leaner, his foot has taken a break. He wore those boots for nearly a year. One day he came in from school and propped his booted feet on the ottoman, and that’s when I saw the soles. Of his feet! He had worn a hole clear through the bottoms.
“Why didn’t you tell me you had a hole in your boots?” I asked, mortified. I mean, what kind of mother am I?
“Awww, they’re fine.”
“Son, they’re not fine. We’re going tomorrow to get you new ones.”
“I don’t want new boots. I like these.”
I have to give him credit for not being greedy. But his attachment to those hole-y boots was a bit OCD, if you ask me. He refused to go shopping for a new pair.
I went without him. Bought him some I thought he’d like, in his size.
“They’re not comfortable,” he said. “Take them back.”
I convinced him that if he’d wear his sneakers for a few days, we could take the old ones to a boot repair shop. He agreed to that. But the boot doctor took one look and said, “I can’t fix those. They’re too far-gone.”
I looked at the boy. He’s twice my size, and I get a crick in my neck when he’s in close range. He had that mulish, I-don’t-want-new-boots-and-you-can’t-make-me expression on his face.
“You’re not wearing these again. You could step on something and end up dead,” I barked, like a Chihuahua scolding a Doberman.
He growled a little, but surprisingly, he didn’t argue. We went that day and bought him some new kicks, and he’s worn them every day since. He’s quite proud of them, too, and says they’re the most comfortable ones he’s owned. And to think, he was stubbornly content to hang onto a pair that was so badly worn, the boot doctor couldn’t even fix them.
He comes by it naturally.
I get way too attached to things. I don’t like change, even if change is needed. I’ve been known to stubbornly cling to my past, my habits, and even the things that cause me stress, simply because I don’t know what lies in the future. Better the devil you know than the one you don’t. Just like FJ holding on to those boots, despite the fact that they offered no support and could have caused him a lot of pain, I hold on to my own rags.
But God is all about new opportunities and fresh starts. He wants His children to act like princes, not paupers. If we’ll simply let go, He will outfit our lives in royal fashion and comfort. We just have to be willing to shut the door on the useless, toxic things in our lives and walk away. We don’t have to worry. Our Father will make sure we walk in style.
Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly-perfect children, and far too many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com.