A Pair of Shoes, A Paradox
Ladies (and some gents, if you’re willing to own up to it), do you remember this?
Wearing your mom’s high heels? Prancing around in her clothes? Getting that giddy smile on your face when, for just a second, you were somebody else? Somebody special? You were your mom! You were a grown-up.
I caught Saoirse trying on my shoes yesterday, cavorting around her room a little too well for my taste in heels that are just about three inches too high for anybody under the age of, say, 18. She was giddy. I was concerned that she was going to wreck an ankle. And as I am wont to do, I had three extreme and sudden silent reactions, all while keeping a proud-mommy smile plastered on my horrified face:
1. Holy s#!+! She’s going to wreck her ankle!
2. Aaaahhh! No, no! You look too mature in those heels and getthemoff!
3. Wait. That’s what I used to do with my mom’s shoes. When did I become the mom?
As I ran to grab the camera before Saoirse forgot the shoes and went back to playing with Lightning McQueen and his little tiny, choking-hazard pit crew, I smiled for real. This is what I’m talking about when I think about the awesomeness that is childhood: the dreaming, the pretending. Basically, doing all the stuff that we stop allowing ourselves to do as adults. Saoirse walks around telling people that she’s going to be a teacher some day. People think this is positively brilliant (well, it is, right? Because teachers are awesome. And I don’t say this just because I still dream of lesson plans at night), but I think what she really means to say is that she’s going to be a grown-up.
And she’s excited to get there. Because being a grown-up means being able to do what we want, and drive fast cars and reach the top shelf without a stool. We can choose the radio station, and decide what’s for dinner, and push the big cart at the grocery store. We can have it it all, dagnabit. My daughter wants to wear our shoes. Funny, isn’t it? And all we want to do is dream.