For one week, during the time I was pregnant with Kate, I babysat my cousin’s children while she was out of town. My first morning there, I decided to take the kiddos to the park for a little fresh air and sunshine. But when I tried to put shoes on the three year old, I was thwarted. Despite her cherubic beauty, those shoes treated her like an ugly step sister. They refused to slip on. I, like a dutiful duke, tried and tried to make them fit, but they would not budge.
“Are these the only shoes you have?”
“Okay, then. First stop: Payless.”
With my petty cash in hand, I lugged my entourage into the local Payless and asked the employee to officially measure the tot’s foot. Sure enough, her current shoes were two sizes too small. Two! In no time at all, we bought some darling white tennis shoes in a nice toe relaxing size and took off for the park.
“What kind of parents don’t have time to take their kid into a Payless twice a year?” I self righteously asked my only child. Fast forward seven years…
The answer: ME.
“Mom, my shoes are too tight!” whined Luke for the upteenth time the other day. I was in the middle of getting everybody ready and into the car to do a little back-to-school shopping.
“Just put them on!” I barked up the stairs.
“I can’t! They’re too tight!”
“Then just bring them in the car! We’ll put them on later. Maybe we can find you some new shoes at the store if they’re really that tight.” I rolled my eyes.
Luke was determined to get new shoes. He even marched across Target’s scorching hot parking lot in stockinged feet, the “too tight” shoes in his hands. I thought he was just being dramatic, nay, difficult. Dare I say, a Grinch?
But whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes, he stood there at Target refusing to lose.
Staring down at those boxes all lined in a row, “These old shoes,” he snarled, “are the first things to go!”
I handed him a few pairs in the next size up to try on. Too small. The next size and a half up? Too small. Two sizes up?
“Oh. Sorry about that, Luke.”
Now, which ones? So many to choose from! There’s the blue velcro, the brown lace ups, the blue and white velcro…Sigh. Decisions, decisions…
Then he brought them to me. They were black and red. They lit up when he walked. They were velcro. He put them on. Just like the shoes, he glowed. They were a perfect match.
“Are these the ones?” I asked.
“These are the ones. Oh, please???”
“Do you like them, or love them?”
“I love them!”
And no, he wasn’t exaggerating. He does love them. Luke has slept in his new shoes these past two nights. He puts them on after his evening bath and everything. This morning, the only way I could wrangle on his shirt and tie for church was to promise him he could wear his new shoes to services. And wear them he did, flashing red lights and all.
Luke is nothing if not a stickler for decorum.