It's starting to feel like fall, and so I didn't put on a pair of sandals today but instead a pair of green suede mary janes that I have owned for many years and were the first non-essential shoe purchase I made after becoming a stay at home mom. Back then the idea of buying something I didn't really need was so far off my radar, I wore pretty much blue jeans and black t-shirts for 10 years.
But this was when Brooklyn would have been 5 or 6, back when she kind of went to half-day first grade like no on else in the country does, so I had her at home a lot during the day and we would go shopping together with London in the shopping cart sneaking drinks of my iced coffee.
We were in Marshalls, which for those of you not here, is a discount department store that sells clothes that are from last season or have flaws, etc. I don't remember what I was there for, but I found myself in the shoe department. I was never a shoe girl. But I was looking idly at shoes and Brooklyn saw these.
"Mom, try those on," she said, and she sounded almost desperate to have me do so. I looked through the European sizing on the size of the boxes. I wear a 40 or a 41, depending on the shoe, and I found a 40 and took it out to try on.
"Sorry baby," I sighed. It wouldn't fit over my cotton socks, for sure.
Brooklyn burst into tears. "But they're so pretty," she cried.
I was shocked at her behavior. She was never very spoiled or tantrum-prone, plus it wasn't her we were buying them for. I looked in the box again and slipped my sock off. The shoes fit.
Of course I would wear them with thin socks or tights, not athletic socks.
"Look," I showed her, and she instantly recovered, sniffling and wiping away tears. "I'll get them."
They weren't too expensive, but on the way home I wondered what on earth I would wear them with. Where I would wear them to. Perhaps it would become clear over time.
On the way home, as well, Brooklyn held onto the box of shoes, open, looking at them and touching them all over.
"Mom, you're not very bonita, are you?" she asked.
"Bonita. We learned it in Spanish. It means pretty."
I thought about myself. I thought about my journey to where I was.
"No, sweetheart. You're right, I'm not very bonita."
She kept petting the shoes.
"That's ok," she decided.