Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Big Shoes

I just finished rocking Mia to sleep and singing Turn Around. That song makes me dang wistful.

I rubbed my cheek against her soft, small hands in the dark and felt the tug-tug-tug of her sucking slow. And I was thinking about how yesterday I showed my dad a picture of my little sister when she was 1. And I could have read it wrong, but it seemed as if I saw in his eyes what I'm going to call a remembering smile. That smile that has that wistful, almost sad look that comes with it -- remembering something so sweet, something tender that is gone. And then it led to me thinking about being in the stage now with my own family, doing our own thing, branching off from each of our respective pilot families, making the circle go round once again.

And I came to shoes.

As a little girl, I remember going up to my Aunt Earlene's house for Thanksgiving. I loved going there. Everything seemed exciting -- the laundry room with the double swinging green doors, watching Princess Bride, jumping off the stairs onto the couch below, the delicious food, and the solarium with the plants and listening to the Beach Boys and taking warm dips in the hot tub in there. The white papasan chair.

But, there in the quiet of my memory, I think of Earlene's shoes. When the holiday chatting was happening with the adults, I used to slip back into their bedroom and put on her black high heels. I'd go walking around, going out the door of their bedroom onto the deck and down into the yard to walk on the stepping stones up through the rising garden in the backyard.

They were big shoes for my then-small feet.

I used to think, in the pre-motherhood stage, that I would always be calm and loving with my children. I would always be patient. I would never raise my voice. They would always just be lovely to me. Which they absolutely are lovely to me, but I do have my moments of frustration. And sometimes BIG frustration.

My boys like to wear my "big shoes," as they call them. They particularly like tromping around in my high heels. It's funny...when I was that little girl wearing the big shoes, I thought the big shoe people had all the answers, always knew what to do, never were nervous or scared or didn't know what to do.

And now that those big shoes are mine, I see how it is -- at least in this stage. I wonder how many times my parents were nervous or didn't know how things were going to work out with one problem or another -- but still they were a rock for me. I wonder how often they were frustrated with a vexing problem or question with how to parent a child and still seemed solid. I wonder how often something I did cracked them up, the way that Scott and I sometimes shoot knowing glances at each other, busting up over something one of these boys says.

I always knew my parents loved me and I remember telling them every day and hugging them -- but now that I'm the mom, I realize how much those words of admiration and appreciation -- how much those small hugs and kisses mean -- how much you need the little shoes.

To me, I never realized what it was like there. In my eyes, my parents knew everything, they had all the answers, they were safety -- there wasn't any other adult in the world that I had more pride in than my mom or dad. They were my whole world. And even now, just knowing that they are here makes all the difference. They still know how to make things okay and my appreciation for them continues to deepen.

I sat there, rocking Mia in the dark and thinking that must be how my boys and Mia view Scott and I. We are that rock for them.

And I thought...
"Oh shoot...these are big shoes!!"
(And I'm giving a shout out to this post by Kimi. I heart, I heart!)

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