Little Girl Lament
“But Mommy, I love these shoes,” six-year-old Laura cried as I was getting ready to throw them out.
“But Sweetie, they’re too small for you now. It will make your toes scrunchy and hurt you.”
With giant tears rolling down her cheeks, she sat on the porch and looked at me with those big, blue pleading eyes.
Laura’s stepdad was fixing something on the porch. He looked up at Laura and said, “Whatsa problem, Lug?” (Ted, my second husband, had a nickname for everyone, and this was hers).
“Mommy says I can’t wear my shoes anymore, but they’re my favorite pair,” she cried, her bottom lip quivering.
Ted to the Rescue
“Lemme see ‘em.” He looked at the shoes and said, “Put ‘em on.” After examining the fit, he headed for his workshop saying, “I’ll be right back.” He returned with a magic marker and a box cutter. Using the magic marker, he drew a semicircle from sole to sole across the middle of the toe box.
“Okay, Lug, take ‘em off.” He held one shoe and carefully cut the top where he’d used the magic marker, then handed it back to Laura. “Okay, try it on.” It was perfect. Her toes came to the very end of the shoe.
Laura wiggled her toes, and said, “I knew Ted could fix it! Now do the other one!” she demanded. Of course, he did and then sanded the openings so they were smooth.
Now this is a nice little ditty, but it’s not exactly the end of the story. We all know that as parents, our children imitate us. Here’s what happened…
44 Years Later
Laura had surgery on her left foot due to a neuroma and bunionectomy. I checked in with her every few days to see how she was faring. She was almost exclusively confined to a lounge chair on wheels that had a footrest that could be elevated.
After a week, she saw the doctor and was instructed to continue with the rest and elevation for another week. This was not easy for my very active daughter. On her return to the doctor, she was given a boot and told she could do some minor weight bearing.
“I just have to do some exercise,” she told me after I’d seen her Facebook page where she was doing some upper body routines in her home gym. “That boot is so awkward and uncomfortable,” she complained to me, “but I know I have to wear it because it’s the only way to truly protect my foot.”
I got that. Several years ago, I had an issue with my foot and wore one of those boots. They are not comfortable! In fact, they’re the opposite of comfortable. I’m glad she was willing to wear it to protect her foot. She just wanted to be as comfortable as possible when not exercising.
First, she tried her husband Tommy’s shoes. That didn’t work because they were still too tight. She’d been so hopeful. Disappointed, she was sitting at the kitchen table, thinking about what she could do and imagining how she could make a shoe wide enough.
That’s when the lightbulb appeared, and she decided to create her own shoe. Because she couldn’t climb the stairs, she sent Tommy up with his phone to examine her sneakers. They video chatted on Facebook Messenger, so he could show her one pair of shoes at a time. Not an easy task as she has dozens of sneakers. After looking at each different shoe, “YES! Those are the ones! Bring them down so I can see if it’ll work!”
“While he was bringing them downstairs,” Laura reported, “I was looking for a pair of scissors and an exacto-knife. All the while, I was remembering how Ted “fixed” my too-small shoes using his special knife.
“After cutting a slit through the top of the left shoe from toe to ankle I slipped my foot in. I used the shoestrings to tie around the middle of my foot to hold it in place. Viola! Tommy’s new nickname for me is LaGiver, like Laura MacGyver. Ted would be proud.”
Laura asked me if I would include this final thought from her. Here’s what she wrote to me:
“I think about Ted almost daily. His influence on me runs so deep, more than you may even realize. I miss him terribly. Just writing this sentence brings me to tears. I see the direct correlation to having Ted in my life when I can do/think/solve things. It brings me joy. So, not only would Ted be proud, I’m proud.”
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