Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Toque

Let me start off by saying, my son has a rather large head. I optimistically believe that it’s simply accommodating his exceptionally brilliant mind (which I don’t doubt it is), but in all actuality, it’s size is likely inherited from his dad. Sorry babe.
In early fall I bought my son the sweetest little multi-colored, kint toque with a single pom-pom. As I checked out through the till, I internally applauded myself for planning early for winter, rather than doing my usual mid-winter dash to the store to find a toque, only to not find a toque, cause it’s too late in the season. But alas, all good things come to an end. November rolled around, and the perfect little toque (without a chin strap, I might add) is conveniently popping off my sons too-large-skull - it’s not even going to make it to solstice.
And so the search for a toque begins. Halfway through November, and it’s not looking good. If you know me at all, you know I’ll look high and low for the perfect toque; that I’ve already mentally drawn up exactly what I want, and I won’t stop until I get it. Ideally, I already know I’d love to get the same toque he wore last year; a blue, two tasseled , fleece toque with a perfectly set chin strap, warm, neutral colored, and But of course, that was last year, so surely I’ll have to search high and low for anything even resembling this toque.
Now – I should mention, I actually came across the toque he wore last year. During some boxing day deal browsing it turned up on a sale rack, and I foolishly opted to pass. Surely it was MUCH too far ahead to buy a toque (It’s never too early! What is my issue? I blame my Mennonite ancestry – living in an idealistic world that tells me it’ll be there forever, and cost even less.) But of course, later is always too late.
As we cruised up and down the main strip of shops today in a last attempt to find a toque (before I decide to order online or drive to a different city), we found The Toque. The same sweet, blue tasseled toque that I’d known and loved. But the bin it was sitting in was not a sale bin, and the price tag was not pink, orange, or yellow - or anything resembling a discount. The crumpled tag from last year read the same, over priced amount, but without the 40% discount. “NO!!!!”
I want the toque, I have to have the toque, but I’ve got a few more stores to check. I pop it on the counter and ask for it to be held for the day, re-assuring the lady that this is The Toque, and more than likely I’ll be back for it. Store, after store, after store, and not a toque to be found. My heart is really set on this blue toque anyhow.
As we make our way back to the store, I know that we’re not going to buy it. If history holds true, the toque will fit for about 2 months, we’ll be lucky to see it last through the season, and let’s be honest, anything you can buy from a classy boutique store is sorely overpriced and hardly worth what you pay. But I put up a fight, just to find out if my gut feeling is right, or if perhaps I’m just being too cheap. I begged, and I pleaded to my husband, “Pleease, can we have the toque? We NEED this toque!?” (Followed by 15 reasons why. Honestly, I should have been a lawyer.) At last, he cracked (he usually does, like I said, I missed my calling).
But I can’t do it, even with his approval, I can’t dish up the cash to pay for the toque, especially when I’ve got a perfectly fine toque at home that I recently found on consignment(did I forget this part?), only this toque had three tassels instead of two, was slightly shoddy, and as Jabin had previously pointed out – looked like something birthed out of the nineties, a decade we’d all like to forget. Oh, and it cost about a 10th of what this toque did.
Money doesn’t grow on trees, not for us at least. Times can be tight and we are very conscious of being wise with our spending. Unfortunately pride grows easily, and even without a tree, pride is rampant like wild yellow broom, ugly, smelly, and absolutely everywhere.
 I go in waves of getting caught in the trap of consumerism – I have this awful, burning need to portray the perfect family; to have just the right clothes, home décor, and anything else that my culture tells me defines me. It costs a lot to follow these consumer-culture trends, and not just my out of pocket cash and racked up credit card. My time (spent looking for the perfect toque), my self-worth, and my ability to give and be generous is decreased by my frivolous spending on things I don’t even need. I’m tired of this mentality. It’s physically exhausting to be constantly fighting a battle I literally can’t afford to win, and in the meantime, I’m hoarding ever dollar I have for the sake of seeing how far I can stretch it to expand my ego even further.
On the way home we stopped at my favorite consignment store, and for a bit of change I found a charming little multi colored knitted toque, with a perfect fitting chin strap and a pom-pom on top. It’s slightly pilled and gently worn, but it’s really all we need. The other one I’ve got, well, it’s free to someone else.

Sagacious Mama

1 comment:

  1. Excellent writing! Your second to last paragraph is so true for most of us and very well put!