Shoes are meant to get dirty

Published 9:00 am Monday, March 5, 2018

I was like most children when it came to getting presents for birthdays or holidays. If I opened a box and it had clothes inside, I politely said “thank you,” and tossed it to the side to make way for the “real” gifts.

As a teenager, clothing held a bit more interest – as long as they were cool. However, my mother wasn’t always hip on knowing what was cool.

My children were no different. That didn’t stop me from giving them new clothes, however, as gifts.

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So when my granddaughter squealed with delight at 3 years old after she opened a box on Christmas morning with brand new shiny shoes, I raised an eyebrow.

At 7, she still loves shoes. She loves shoes more than most grown women love shoes. When we go to Walmart, when most kids ask for a toy or candy, she asks for new shoes.

And my daughter often obliges. She and her sisters, almost 6 and 2 years old, have a large container filled with shoes for every occasion.

This weekend my daughter found a cute pair of sneakers on sale for $4 and of course, had to buy them. The two older girls can pretty much share shoes as they wear close to the same size.

As my two daughters, daughter-in-law and I headed out to the park with all five of my grandchildren, a fight ensued between the two older girls as to who would get to wear the new shoes. The almost 6-year-old won.

As we arrived at Pat Lamar Park, I didn’t think about all the rain we’ve had recently, and within minutes, my granddaughter found herself some mud puddles. After jumping into them without pause, she no longer wanted to wear the new shoes that were now wet and covered in mud.

My daughter was furious. Despite the fact the shoes didn’t cost a lot, they were brand new and now dirty.

I laughed.

I laughed because I realize how unimportant things like dirty shoes are. I understand that in a blink of an eye, my granddaughters’ shoes will no longer get dirty from jumping in mud puddles.

My daughter sat on a bench with wipes, scrubbing the shoes, grumbling as she wiped. I took the shoes from her and told her to play with her daughters while she still has a chance and that I’d clean the shoes.

I sat and watched my two grown daughters struggle with walking up the big mounds, calling for the children to “help them down.” I watched my 2-year-old grandson, born with two club feet, run like the wind down the path, his shoes also now covered in mud. My daughter-in-law didn’t care about the dirt. Her son was running. That’s all that matters.

The next day, the girls came over for a quick visit. The 7-year-old plopped herself in front of my computer, pulled up a website for a children’s shoe store and promptly asked if I could buy her “these super cute” shoes, pointing to a pink pair of high-tops with emojis on the side. They were on sale, she said, for $10.

I bought two pairs.