Friday, June 23, 2017
I took you shoe shopping this week. Between you and all the others I've spent plenty of money in that small Clarks store over the years. In fact we visit so often that the shop assistants recognise us and always comment on how much you've grown. We are what you might call 'regulars'.
Somehow, I remember your shoes. The first pair of Crocs wellies, with handles, that we've had to replace with identical versions every winter since. The gorgeously cute red Converse that I just couldn't leave in the shop. You loved them, and so did I, but I soon got tired of tying and re-tying the laces.
The blue trainers with the planes on and the red trainers with the dinosaurs. The rubber sandals in varying sizes that you wear when we visit Mamy and Papy so you don't slip at the side of the pool. The sensible walking sandals that you insist on wearing with socks.
I remember the awful day when you first hit a size 10 and the Clarks assistant told me the array of cute shoes I was fixated by were no longer available to us. She showed us a shelf of boring school shoes. You were three years old. She rummaged around and we managed to find a pair of blue suede boots with lime green laces. They were so expensive but I wouldn't have you in black lace-ups at that age for anything.
Then there was the time when the shop assistant struggled up the stairs with a pile of boxes, only to tell me that the shoes in the first box were in the sale and were only £10. I told her to put the other boxes away figuring that even if I didn't really like the bargain pair, we'd need new ones in three months anyway.
Your first shoes were special. First shoes always are. We arranged to go for your first shoes on your first mum's birthday, making a day of it at the shopping centre. You were just turning 11 months old and had taken your first steps a couple of weeks previously. Your mum was proud, holding you on her knee while the shop assistants fussed and the support worker and I looked on. I remember those shoes - little navy blue crawlers with two velcro straps. You toddled about the shop while we all oohed and aahed. Then they took your 'first shoes' polaroid while you sat on your first mum's lap.
Just a few weeks later you went to live with your first mum again, everyone hoping for a happy ever after. When it all fell apart, you came back to me wearing red slippers. I don't know what happened to those little blue shoes.
This week we had a new first - your first football boots. And for the first time, the number stopped steadily rising, going instead from 13 to 1. You're getting a big boy now. I can see black lace-ups in our future.