Scrolling through the sneakers online, he wanted them all. I had to be the nagging voice of reason though, as parents are oft to do. I told him he could choose two pairs, no more.
There were tears, an insistence that they needed to have the exact ones on his feet in this bigger size and that if they didn't he wouldn't wear any new shoes at all.
They had been out of stock for weeks, and that morning they appeared. The same ones he loved so dearly, two sizes up and new. Realizing he had this window of opportunity after months of looking with no luck, he eagerly picked the second pair out and urged me to press order.
Mama, Mama, Mama. When will they come???
Some kids count down the days until birthdays or holidays. He counted down the days until they would arrive. His new shoes.
I suppose that I should tell you that shoes are a big deal around here, because aside from the obvious reasons involved with loving new shoes that most of us can relate to, shoes are a slightly bigger deal for him.
He had surgery on both of his feet a few years ago. His toes overlapped bilaterally with the middles covering his second toes almost completely. It hurt him to walk and it was getting worse, so we did what we had to do. The tendons in his middle toes were snipped, pulling them straight, granting him the ability to flip people off with his feet in the process. And no I'm not kidding. I'm sure he'll have fun with that later on in life.
When I picked him up from summer school today, I gave him the news. The countdown was over. They were here.
He raced into the house, opened the boxes and tried both of the new pairs on.
And there was joy.
Until there was sadness.
He brought me the old pair. We'd been teasing him a bit lately about them, they are so worn out and broken in. They have holes and fraying and the toes are just about gone entirely...but he refused to wear anything else. The kid won't even wear flip flops in the summertime. It's these or nothing.
He asked if we could keep them. I told him I would think about it, but I didn't really need to. They'll go into a box for him in the basement filled with the treasures of his lifetime. I knew that already.
They are absolutely ruined, but to me they are beautiful.
He loved and loved and loved them.
They carried him to his first day of kindergarten.
They traveled with him every single day of that year, one filled with so many ups and downs.
They pedaled his bike the first time without training wheels.
They forced us to spend countless hours searching cars and floors and basements when he misplaced them.
They walked into the endocrinologist's office, again, over a year after we thought we would never have to go back.
They dangled from car seats and couches during all the times he absolutely wasn't sleeping.
They ran everywhere he ran for almost a year, strapped to his feet, the feet that can only ever travel on fast forward.
They climbed trees and learned to ride a skateboard.
They were worn over footie pajamas and mismatched socks.
They became a part of him.
There is another pair waiting, shiny and new.
Someday they'll have their own stories to tell.