Written by Emily
“Noah, you can throw those away, now.”
“Nah. Not yet. I don’t want to,” he answered and casually tossed them into the basket.
That was our conversation last week. I was talking about his school shoes, the ugly black velcro sneakers he had to wear for private school. They’re bland and boring…
and the opposite of the garish Jordans he desperately wanted to buy now that his toes were pressing against the front of his old ones like seedlings in spring.
Kindergarten is over.
He reads without my help. He wears Jordans.
While I was tidying the house this week, I covered up those ugly black sneakers in the shoe basket with Noah’s bright new ones with laces that he can tie by himself.
I’m glad he isn’t ready to get rid of the old…no matter how worn out they are. I’m not quite ready yet either.
Besides, I have shoes in my closet that stay there because they tell the story of where I’ve been: classrooms and dance floors. Sometimes I slide my foot into too-high wedges that paraded me around once, but the time and place aren’t right anymore. Not now. Maybe not ever. While I’m not going back, it’s nice to see the shoes and remember where those scuffed soles took me–or where I took them.
I wonder if that’s why Noah’s holding onto those sneaks. Those shoes were there when he walked into school for the very first time. They ran around a new playground and made paths in the mulch that led to best friends and bruises and new firsts. He became a real reader in those shoes. He lost two teeth with those shoes on his feet. And they stayed with him until he hugged his teacher good-bye, walked right out of kindergarten and into the beginning of something else.
They’re worn out, those shoes. Creased and cracked. But they should be. All the best shoes get that way…especially when they tell the story of a boy and where he’s been.