Thursday, August 21, 2008
My son Liam is seven years old. He's pensive, artistic, stubborn, and compassionate. And he only wears shoes when he is threatened. Liam has been taking his shoes off since I have been putting them on. He would rather walk across a steaming parking lot than put on his flip-flops. I avert my eyes when he walks into public restrooms. He has never complained about stomping over tanbark, thorns, gravel, or even torn toenails. I am not allowed to clip his toenails, and haven't been for several years. He does it himself. When I did try, I had my husband lock his head in a vice grip while I sat on his knees. Talk about a hill you don't want to die on! So, he clips his own nails, and does a passable job. Whatever he misses gets snagged on the stuff he walks through.
When he was three and already an expert shoeless wonder, I took him to have his feet measured because he hated every pair I'd ever bought. Apparently I hadn't noticed that Liam's feet were extra, extra wide, like a pachyderm. Normal shoes hurt, but now it was too late. He's got both the memory and feet of an elephant and shoes are to be avoided.
Every fall, Liam laments the loss of his barefoot freedom. Part of me wishes he was born 100 years ago, so he could go barefoot with impunity, but the part of me that likes air conditioning, epidurals, and HGTV is glad he wasn't. He has one more week of black heels before he'll be shod and marching into second grade. I'm sure, however, that the first thing he'll do once he gets home after the first day of school, is to kick his shoes off.