All the places my new shoes will take me

This morning I bought a new pair of shoes. Over the weekend I stepped in some dog poop at a neighbor’s party and when I went to clean it off, I noticed there was a hole in the sole so it was time. Those shoes were older than my daughter who turned 3 over the summer. They knew Connecticut, they knew Chicago.

shoesHere they are. As you can see, at first glance there is nothing really remarkable about these, the replacement set. The only thing that is different is the pattern on the fabric. I tend to be a creature of habit, particularly when it comes to things that work and my everyday shoes need to work.

These shoes are a far cry from the shoes I used to wear to work before opting out or the ones I sometimes wear now on interviews, the sleek, girly, toe-pinching, wallet-draining heels with names like Stuart, Jimmy, Cole or Tory. Not these, the no-name, plain, boring shoes, found on sale, half off, on the bottom shelf in the back of the store. In short, functional. Like the shoes themselves, the trip to get them was seemingly straightforward not to mention efficient, in and out of the mall under a half hour. After all I did have an impatient 3 year old in tow.

Children's Garden at the Morton Arboretum

Children’s Garden at the Morton Arboretum

But I am glad the trip was short because I was able to start my life in my new shoes straight away. The first stop was the Morton Arboretum with my daughter on this glorious fall day. While the shoes are black, they have already been deep blue as the sky reflected down on them. They have also been covered in shades of red, orange and yellow as the leaves softly drifted over them on their way to their permanent home on the ground from their temporary home up in the maple, oak, and chestnut trees that adorn the trails. The very word arboretum means a place of trees.

Although not a drop of rain fell today, my new shoes have already been wet, covered by my daughter’s tears that fell to my feet when she didn’t want to leave the arboretum.

My shoes are resting now, sitting in the shoe tray while I am inside the house. They need a break too.

Where will my shoes take me next? I don’t exactly know yet, and that is part of the fun of living life in my shoes.

While I don’t exactly know their next destination, I do know at some point soon my shoes will become well acquainted with routine. They will pace the steps outside the front door, bringing my son to the bus, walking out to get him off the bus. They will drag the cart around Jewel, or Target, marking the aisles as I work my way through the grocery list, milk, apples, bread, something for dinner that isn’t frozen.

My new shoes will know fun. These shoes are the slip off and on type, perfect for airport security and comfortable enough to walk the long corridors at O’Hare to the gate with two children, a car seat and a few bags. I really want to go on vacation again. We have been talking about going back to Turks and Caicos. Or maybe that next flight will be back to New York to see family. More likely though the next vacation will be the weekend variety and my shoes will accompany me on that first Midwest road trip. Where to go? I keep hearing the names of places like Lake Geneva and Door County. Or maybe we’ll give Michigan a try.

Also, these shoes will certainly be weighted down with worry. I will have to get another mammogram in the new year. The shoes will walk me in and stay on as the dressing room instructions are from the waist up. They will also carry a sick child or two into the doctor’s office. I hope not pneumonia again, or worse.

These shoes will be bruised and beaten by my son’s soccer ball in the back yard as he kicks and I kick back and by the sidewalks at summer festivals as I dance fast and furious to the music from the bands, whether watching the standby Hi Infidelity or maybe someone new, maybe a band yet to be formed, music yet to be written.

These shoes will also carry me up into the air as I jump, cheering my son on as he plays Little League, spring and fall now as he gets a base hit or strikes batters out, and to also root for my daughter, whether she stays with dance or tries something different, gymnastics maybe.

With your shoes, you leave an imprint of yourself wherever you may go, leaving a little piece of sole. Over time, the sole thins and wears down. You may feel that way too, worn down and torn by all the walking and wearing you do in a day. Then one day, you retool, recharge, re-sole, and you’re brand new again, like your shoes. And there is nothing plain, boring or no-name about that even though you may think your shoes are. They may not go the places your old shoes went but they will propel you to new places and memories, and through your new shoes you will grow even though your feet have long since stopped growing.

What have you done in your shoes today?

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Tags: opting out, parenting

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