Life in Our Mountain Town: Trials of a hand-me-down kid
Last Saturday morning while I was sitting on the sidelines of my younger child’s soccer game, I watched as she ran across the field and made a good hard kick. Suddenly, along with the ball, her cleat was also flying though the air.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be admitting this, because it may point to the sometimes lax job I do as a parent, but the truth is that my second child has never had a brand new pair of soccer cleats in her life. And it appears that this year, I did not do a very good job at making sure that her hand-me-down cleats fit.
It’s not because we can’t afford to buy her her own pair of soccer cleats. It has more to do with all the kids’ gear that we have accumulated over the years. As each new season rolls around, we merely have to turn to our stockpile of already-purchased stuff and find what we need for our second child.
This is true of shin guards and soccer balls, snow pants and gloves, cross country skis and boot and poles, bicycles and bike helmets, roller blades and elbow pads, ballet shoes and leotards, baseball mitts and bats, swim suits and goggles and life vests. The list goes on and on. And most of it all gets recycled and reused.
I want to point out that we actually have purchased several ski helmets expressly for Addie’s use (the hand-me-down kid in our family), which should exemplify that when a good fit is really important, we do rise to the occasion.
Back in the days when I used to tie my children’s shoes for them, I also probably took the time to make sure that handed-down soccer cleats fit. But as my children have grown older and more independent, I have dealt with the job of outfitting child number two for a new soccer season in a very hands-off way. This year I think I instructed Addie to go find a pair of cleats to wear, not actually checking to make sure they fit or not.
A friend of mine sitting next to me on the sidelines Saturday reminded me that there was one year when both of our families did not have the right size soccer shoes for our younger children, and so we made a swap.
I’m sure I am not the only parent actively recycling kids’ gear. As a matter of fact, haven’t many of us experienced that first soccer game of the season where there’s a parent or coach who is asking around to see if anyone has a knife so that they can cut off the front toe thing from one of their players’ baseball cleats in order to convert them into legal soccer cleats?
From the perspective of my younger child, she likes to point out that it isn’t fair that her older sister gets a lot more stuff brand new. But she also knows that eventually the gear will be hers to use, and being three years behind her sister, she tends to have a wide array of equipment.
Having items handed down definitely serves to humble a second or subsequent sibling in any family, but it also makes them super appreciative when we parents do break down and take that second kid to the store to buy them their very own brand new piece of sports equipment.
This morning over breakfast I told Addie that I would pick her up from school and we would go have her fitted for a pair of new soccer cleats.
I was imagining how proudly she would wear them, and I was feeling relieved that she would then be ready to participate in her next game without the chance that her shoe might fly off every time she kicks the ball, when she told me, “Mom, I don’t need new cleats. I just need to remember to tie them.”
Katie Shaffer has lived in Truckee since 1981.
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