Recently, I found my 18 year daughter in my closet going through my shoes. She was looking for a pair of flat, white shoes to wear for her graduation. As I helped her look for them it occurred to me how each pair of shoes has its own story. Can you really tell someones’ life story from looking their shoes?
I remember her first pair of big girl walking shoes. We went to Stride Rite and bought the white leather, lace up walkers. I was so proud. My first child was walking at 9 months. About a day later, I was so tired and nervous because, you guessed it, my 9 month old child was mobile. Her next pair of shoes were red, patent leather, mary janes. She wore them when we visited the JFK Library in Boston. She looked so cute in her blue velvet dress with the white-collar and red shoes.
As she grew new shoes were needed, her first pair of sneakers, her first pair of school shoes. Summer came and it was time for swimsuits and flip-flops. Time passed and we added sneakers for basketball in 6th grade, spikes for field hockey in 7th. My child was no longer a child and she wanted to pick out her own shoes. I bit my lip with some of her choices. No, absolutely not, no 5 inch platform heels for school shoes. I gave in on the black, leather, lace up boots that I thought look like hooker boots. But she said all the kids are wearing them. I’ll look stupid if you buy these ugly shoes you picked out for me. Ok, and so it begins, the journey every child must take that moves them into young adulthood.
When she entered high school I had little or no say over the shoes she bought. Sometimes I approved. Sometimes I didn’t. But at this point in her life the decision was hers. So when it came time to buy prom shoes she actually asked me to go with her. I know in her mind she knew they would be expensive and that I, being there, would buy them for her, but quite honestly, she doesn’t ask me to do a lot with her anymore so I went just to be with her.
She has graduated now and will be attending college in the fall. I rarely see her now. She’s working to make money to pay for college. I know that she is now a young adult, capable of making her own decisions. She has become everything a mother can hope for in a daughter and I am proud of her.
I look forward to the day when she goes out to buy her child their first pair of shoes. I hope she asks me to come.