Today I get to buy my son shoes.
The years go by. For a time in my life buying shoes seemed an endless task. With three children, it seemed like every time I turned around someone needed shoes.
Lately, though, with said children grown and launched, the adventure of shoe seeking is a mother-less affair. This is good. Self-sufficiency is a good thing.
But today I get to participate in a ritual whose grooves I know well.
Really, it is not about the shoes. It’s about tending. Even though children grow and leave and commence living, they are always tied to their parental units with heart cords. For the life of me, I haven’t much figured out how not to scan them every time I see them: are they eating well? Are their teeth tended? Are they shod in ways that will keep them dry and warm? What about that bike helmet? Are they happy?
The many calculations live in me. I have to squelch most of the questions I might ask. I encounter enough eye rolling in our time together. Said rolling eyes tell me that I have a limited fussing budget to work with, so I have to check in judiciously.
The last time we were together my question had to do with shoes. Bless him, my son agreed to allow me to replace the beloved (and many-holed) shoes he was wearing.
It felt like victory.
If all goes well, Jameson will walk and bike his way through the winter city in dry and comfortable shoes.
And his mother? She will feel the warm good of caring for one of her babies. Sleep comes easier when basics are assured. As important, I’ll get time to be with one of my favorite people on this planet.
As I anticipate the joy of this seemingly mundane thing, my heart lurches a bit.
I can buy these shoes. I can fuss and tend and see to it my son is warm and dry. We’re even going to buy them new, without taking the time to cruise thrift stores, which is often our wont.
This we can do.
What of the so many who cannot?