When little Zaine outgrew his shoes, his mom took him shopping and told him he could pick out a new pair. But when Mari Estelle Leavell let her little boy choose, she wasn't expecting him to immediately go to the sparkly blue, furry Frozen snow boots.
Stuck with what to do, at first Mari tried to trade him the princess boots for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and Batman options. Instead, her happy little boy started dancing in his boots while singing "Let It Go" in the middle of Walmart.
Mari admitted that she initially started to panic and was bombarded with thoughts racing through her mind, including what if she let him wear them and then he was teased?
For some input on what to do, Mari called her best friend, who simply asked, "Is he happy?" When Mari admitted that he was, her best friend reassured her that letting Zaine have the princess boots was fine. Another 20 minutes later, Mari realized that the boots weren't coming off her happy child's feet, and just as quickly she prepared herself for a confrontation with a stranger about them.
"I hear an old man laughing, so I brace myself for what I think he's about to say," Mari shared on Frank Somerville's Facebook page.
Old man: "He looks happy!"
Me: "Yeah... but I'm afraid he'll get teased."
Old man: "Let me tell you something ... what matters more: what people think or being happy in life?"
He had a point...
What kind of parent would I be if I raised my son to put his own happiness on the back burner while he catered to the expectations of others?
What kind of parent would I be if I said happiness can only be coloring in the lines?
What kind of parent would I be if I didn't encourage innocent child interests and imagination?
What kind of parent would I be to lie to him and shelter him from the reality that people are going to talk about you, be rude, and tease you?
And so what if my son ended up being gay?!
My son is my son and my love for him wouldn't change.
While Zaine happily danced in his new Frozen boots while shooting his toy gun in the air as he sang "Let It Go," his adult mom learned an important lesson: "Happiness matters more than what people think and you're the only one who has to walk in your shoes, nobody else."