He clomps around, big smile on his face. His little feet tucked in my tennis shoes, almost sliding off of him with each laboring step. His walk is unsteady and he never lasts long in them.
Too much work, those grown up shoes.
It's a picture of what is to come though. Where walking in them will come more naturally to him because they finally fit his adult sized feet.
It's a beautiful picture isn't it? A child imitating their parent. Trying the "grown-up" on for size and testing it out, wondering how it feels to be tall and in charge.
I remember doing this as a child; performing fashion shows in my mother's heels and her wedding veil and beaded necklaces. Dreaming of being a real woman and feeling beautiful and important and not having to answer to anyone. As a girl, perhaps that's all I thought being a grown-up was about.
I was always in a hurry to grow-up too, and I did I think. My brother's short life, my parent's divorce, how I helped care for and raise my sister when I was in high school, and having a very adult relationship with someone my senior year - all of those things made me grow up faster than I should have. I was given my size 9 "grown-up" shoes as a teenager and have worn them ever since it seems.
Over the weekend, my mother-in-law took me shopping as a treat for my birthday. And of course, a new pair of shoes (or two) were in order. I tried on these sassy red wedges that I loved. But walking around in them made me very aware of where it pinched my toe and I could imagine myself limping around to somewhere dying to get them off and then not wearing them ever again.
As I put them back on the shelf, I was aware that I was just making a logical decision based on what I both need and want. I want cute shoes, but for where I am at in life, I just don't need high maintenance shoes that hurt my feet.
And then I found these. Still plenty cute, but much more functional for what I need. And absolutely zero toe-pinching. (These too can be yours at your local Target store for only $19.99!)
Yesterday, a surprising phone call came. I was invited to be a part of this huge-important thing for a ministry I'm involved with. It was something I've wanted to do and hoped to be considered for someday. And I had to say no. The timing just wasn't right and it wouldn't have been kind to myself - to my husband, my son, or my boss to try and figure it out. I wanted to say yes and I couldn't. And the opportunity will come again, but for now I just have to wait.
And then maybe that's part of what it is to really be grown-up. To say no to the shoes that don't go with your busy life. To know when you just can't make something work even when you want to. To be okay with waiting. To be okay with saying no.
My little grown-up-shoe-wearing son hates the word no. He wants yes for everything. And I remember that. I remember not understanding why there were "no's" for things when I was a girl.
I guess maybe when the shoes finally fit, you know that "wait" or "no" aren't really all that bad. Because really, you are just taking care of yourself and making good decisions, even if they feel hard.
And it takes a real "grown-up" to know that.