They don't walk in your shoes...
Click, Click, Click!
by Pauline Fraser
We ducked into the dimly lit thrift shop to get out of the rain. Like so many things since our daughter's birth, I hadn't planned on a trip to this place. But I figured we'd see what they had since we were there.
"Hi, today is stuff a bag day. Would you like one?" The clerk asked.
"What is stuff a bag day?"
"You take a bag and stuff it with what ever you want and it's only $3. Best deal in town."
"Okay, sounds great," I said, despite the fact I hadn't planned on buying anything.
I took my six-year-old daughter's hand and we started to wander around. Suddenly there was a tug on my hand and my attention was being directed to the shoe section. She shares my weakness for shoes, so we stopped for a minute to look. I let go of her hand and she reached out to touch a pair of shiny black shoes with a strap and silver buckle.
"Buy me?" She inquires.
"Oh, Sweetie, they are tap shoes. You aren't taking tap."
"Buy me?" She repeats.
"Well, let's try them on."
She sits on the floor and removes her bright pink rain boots, with Barbie on the sides, and easily slides the new shoes on. A perfect fit. When she stands up she hears 'click.' She takes a step. Click, Click. Slowly recognition dawns, as she makes the connection between the shoes and her moving feet. Click, Click, Click.
"Buy me?" With a hopeful look in her eyes. Again, "Buy me, peas?"
"Okay Sweetie, take them off and put them in the bag."
We look around some more and get a few t-shirts, pants, books and games and a naked baby doll.
Well, it's stuff a bag day - might as well get my money's worth, I think to myself.
The sun has come back out as we emerge from our little side trip and we continue on our way. As we near the car, Amara reaches for the bag. As she climbs into the back seat, I give her the bag wondering what treasure she is looking for. The shoes, of course. She is my daughter after all.
It's not a question, so I took the tag off and helped her with the buckle. Our next stop was the grocery store and these shoes were made to make noise, especially on my little girl's feet. This could be interesting...
Click, Click, Click - people turn to look as we enter the store.
Click, Click, Click. I can feel the disapproving stares of the proper people. People who would never allow their daughter to wear tap shoes to the grocery store. I hold my head up with pride. The click, click, click is music to my ears.
"Excuse me dear. Is your daughter in tap this year?"
"No." I replied.
"Well why on earth would you allow her to wear tap shoes, here, of all places? They make such a noise."
"Yes, isn't it wonderful?"
"Wonderful? My dear, this is not the place to wear those shoes."
"Oh, I think this is the perfect place to wear them. You see she asked for them."
"Just because she asked for them, doesn't mean you have to get them for her."
"You don't understand," I said.
"When she was a baby, we were told she would never walk or talk. It has taken a lot of hard work and patience but she asked for the shoes and the click, click, click says that she can walk."
My daughter, who is always on the move, is 18 now and will graduate from grade 12 in June. It has not always been easy, but it has all been worthwhile. She has taught me that it doesn't matter what others think. They don't walk in your shoes.
And just like the ladies in the purple hats*, sometimes you simply have to wear tap shoes to the grocery store - if for nothing else, just the sheer joy of hearing the click, click, click.
* Ladies in purple hats are groups of women who have reached a certain age and now can allow themselves to enjoy life without fear of what others think.