I just remembered the time I took Youngest to get his first pair of shoes. He was about 18 months old (yes, I kept ’em in those amazing Swedish moccasins as long as I could) and he was very excited to go get his shoes. Really, he was. I swear. Only he got there and we sat down in the plastic chairs and the sweet guy who has worked there for thirty years came over and…
Everything was going fine. Really. Youngest picked out the shoes he wanted. Sneakers, with velcro instead of laces which was very new and cool back in the day. Anyway…
He stood on the measuring tool. He didn’t like it, but he did. Then the salesman went off to fetch the shoes and Youngest’s lip started to quiver. And then he started to cry. And it was not your silent tears-streaming-down-the-face crying, it was clear-the-store-out crying.
Mothers were looking at me. The salespeople were looking at me. Hey, people on the sidewalk outside were looking at me. What kind of mother was I? No, what kind of monster was I? How could I possible let my child cry so hard – over a pair of shoes?
Here is the thing. I did consider just walking out. It’s not as if it didn’t cross my mind. But there are these moments with your children when you KNOW that they want to get through whatever nasty spot they are in and find themselves on the other side. I decided not to pick him up in my arms and take him out of there.
So he puked on the floor. He cried so hard that he threw up all over the rug. And that really did clear out the store.
And then it was just me and Youngest and the thirty-year kids shoe store veteran who, I am quite sure, was ruing the day he decided not to attend college.
He did succeed in shoving the shoes on Youngest’s feet. We all stared at his tiny little appendages, encased in solid leather for the very first time.
Youngest stood up. He looked down some more. And then he declared, "I LUUVVV new shoes!"