Jill Gable, R. Nichols,
Photographer, Copywriter & Caregiver
My 95-year old Mother has set aside many treasures for me. So, a couple months ago when I needed some baby shoes to use as a prop for an upcoming photo shoot. I went right to the neatly stacked boxes in the upper guest-room closet. As I pulled these tiny scuffed Mary Janes shoes from the carefully ribboned box, a card fell out that read, “these were your very first pair of real shoes.” Delighted, I held these doll-like shoes in the palm of my hand for a bit, then put one to my now seemingly Sasquatchian foot. Something about these shoes seemed extremely familiar.
The realization hit me that this was the same shoe my Mother wore every day … now. The buckles had been replaced by Velcro, and her pair were a tan color. But it was the essentially the identical shoe. My Mom even calls these shoes, her “very last pair of shoes.” I don’t exactly know how I feel about her rather unsettling declaration, but she has held steadfast in refusing a new pair. Having been sent back to the store multiple times to return potential new candidates, I choose to pick another battle in our daily theatre of strong love and gentle war.
I cannot walk in my Mom’s shoes, and thus, no one else can truly walk in mine. But if it all begins and ends with a classic and comfortable Mary Jane shoe, it might be worth the long trip around the entire circle. I’m thankful I have sole custody of her heart, and her old shoes … and she certainly has sole custody of mine from the very first moment, and the very first pair.