The New Shoes

Weeks before his birthday, Niall decided he wanted a pair of new shoes for football. But not just any pair. He wanted the ones that he’d seen his favorite star player talk about in a TV commercial. That made them the best shoes, right? The design and colors made them just that much more awesome.

Niall made sure to tell his mother that’s what he wanted for his birthday and that it was the only thing he wanted. And then he waited.

Every time he saw that commercial, his face lit up. He could imagine himself becoming the star of the game when he played with his friends.

But when his birthday came, instead of the shoes, he received a jersey from Mom. It was great and all, and he tried hard to smile.

Where were the shoes? Didn’t Mom hear him when he told her? Didn’t she care?

Well, Christmas was coming up in a couple of months, so he told Mom what he wanted again. He made sure she saw the commercial and that she wrote down the brand and name of the shoes.

His anticipation for Christmas increased over the following weeks. Again, he imagined how he’d look on the field with those shoes on, moving the ball expertly toward the goal, leaving everyone behind.

On Christmas morning, Niall could tell by the size and shape of the gift that bore his name that it wasn’t a shoebox. He slouched with disappointment and almost couldn’t bring himself to open it. This time, it was a pair of shorts to replace his old ones.

Niall thanked his mother and gave her a hug. He didn’t say anything about the shoes, either that day or afterward. He still harbored a little hope, especially when he saw the commercial.

To his surprise, on his next birthday, Niall opened his gift from Mom to find a pair of new shoes. They weren’t the ones he’d asked for. He lifted one out of the box, and then his jaw dropped, his eyes wide. The tag attached to the laces had a picture of the same star player, but the design was much cooler than the shoes he had asked for last year.

“They’re better shoes than the ones you wanted,” said Mom. “I did some research. These are better constructed and will last longer. The studs are more durable. They’re made for playing as much as you play than those other shoes. I would have bought these ones for your birthday last year, but they don’t make them in what was your size. They should fit you now.” She smiled a bit sadly. “I’m sorry you had to wait so long. I wanted to keep it a surprise.”

“Thank you, Mom!” Niall cried, his disappointment forgotten. He put on his jersey and shorts and ran outside to show his friends the new shoes.

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on

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