She leaves them laying around everywhere.
by the front door, in the middle of the living room, in our bathroom.
and maybe they're just clutter.
and maybe they're evidence that she's messy or irresponsible.
but I tell you,
when I see those shoes,
or stumble over them walking through a room
my heart squeezes a bit inside my chest
and I don't dare move them an inch
because she's growing so fast, you see
-those shoes are nearly bigger than mine-
and it's flying by faster than I can stand.
I remember when her shoes were so tiny I could hold both of them in one hand.
I remember when her little ankles were so chubby we could barely get shoes on her feet.
I remember when she wanted all the shoes to be in a pile by the front door,
and would gather them from all over the house to put them there.
I remember the summer she would only wear Crocs, all the time.
She had a little pair of pearly pink ones she slept with at night.
I remember painting those little toes for sandals.
I remember good, long days of playing without shoes,
when the soles of her feet were black at bathtime.
I remember her putting on my shoes and clomping around the house,
smiling proudly in mommy's shoes.
I remember shoes of all kinds and colors and styles,
chosen especially for those feet of my little girl.
And I also remember when she became quite opinionated
about the style and color.
I remember when the little girl sizes didn't fit her anymore,
and we had to move up to women's sizes.
I remember when her feet grew 2 sizes in as many months.
I remember the first pair of my shoes that she stole from my closet:
a pair of gray Converse.
I never liked those shoes, they didn't fit me right.
But they were perfect for her.
I'm seeing her personality in her shoes now.
comfortable, a little funky, tried and true. reliable.
And I can look ahead,
into the not too distant future,
and know that her shoes won't always be scattered around our home.
her feet will carry her off
on adventures and to activities
and our home might be slightly neater,
but it will much more quiet
and maybe she won't always want to shower in our bathroom
maybe she'll want privacy and she'll hide in her room
or take her time getting ready
instead of rushing out to be with us,
leaving her shoes where they fall.
But I hope that this house will always feel like home to her.
Whether she's 10 years old or 42,
I want this to be the place
where she can come in
and take off her shoes
and breathe a sigh of relief.
I want this to be her refuge,
the safety net at the end of the day
or the end of the semester
or the end of the plans
or the end of the rope....
this is home, my precious Lana.
a place where you can untie the laces
and drop the shoes
(and the worry and the burdens and the pressure)
and be loved.
I love these red shoes.
I never know where I'll find them,
but they always make me smile
because these shoes aren't clutter to me anymore.....
they're a reminder that she's more than halfway to adulthood,
and we have the great privilege of watching her grow.