Friday, March 4, 2016

These boots weren't made for walking.

My grandmother painted the picture that hangs over the mantle at my parents' house.  It is of my father's work boots.  It is simple.  Just his boots, unlaced, a tongue flopped over, in the exact position they rest when he has removed them from his feet. This happens to be the same position in which they rest when he is standing in them, left toe forward, right toe off to the right a bit.  You can tell, by looking at his boots, that he is standing on his left leg and resting his right, even when all you see are his boots. Pictures over mantles always seem to hold significance, representing something of value to the owner.  In this case, it's not the boots that matter, but the artist and the man who wore those boots.

I've never been big on shoes, or anything materialistic, really.  My material treasures are cherished because of the person who once owned them, my grandmother's paintings, cuckoo clock and piano, my grandfather's belt buckle.  I don't ooh and ahh over shoes, but the shoes that meet me at the door bring a smile to my face, always. Upon walking into my home the number of shoes in the entryway depends on the day of the week.  Some days all four kids are home.  Other days only two.  A couple days here and there; no kids, so, much fewer shoes.

Since becoming a blended family, parts of the house are less accommodating than others; the coat closet being one of them.  So, the kids boots and shoes create a small mountain by the door and we shift them from side to side depending on which bottom cupboard we need to get into.  Tripping over a pile of shoes means our kids are home and our family is together.  Once upon a time, it may have been frustrating to have the clutter just as one opens the door.  But knowing what it means to have all of those shoes in a pile by the door means that every member of my family is home.

All week long the contents of the shoe pile changes; one stepdaughter's black chucks, my other stepdaughter's turquoise and neon green running shoes, my son's muck boots (which are bigger than mine, I might add), my daughter's rainbow colored New Balance sneakers, all tangled together in a heap of laces and tongues and treads.  There are two pairs of shoes that are constant in this pile, mine and my husband's.  One or two days out of the week these are only two pairs of shoes by the door.  They sit, side by side, neatly by the door, not blocking any cupboards, not creating a tripping hazard. They signal a calm and quiet house.

Thinking about all these shoes, the pairs that come and go and the pairs that stay, I have come to realize the significance.  Like the painting over my parents' mantle, it's not the shoes that matter, it's the people who wear them.  Two pairs of shoes stay side by side, despite the chaos of schedules that come with blended families, school, work, life.  Someday all the other shoes will pile up a lot less frequently, maybe a few times during the holidays or summer vacations.  But there will always be two pairs by the door.  Mine and his.  Side by side.


  1. I presume when you started reading this you had no idea where it would end up, right. The magic of allowing your thoughts to flow! Your writing often reflects your passion for your family and just people. I am so happy we are doing this challenge together.

  2. Love this reflection on a painting of shoes that moved to shoes in real time in your house. There is great significance in the people in our lives. You remind me to cherish them.