The Boss has been down to one pair of shoes--snow boots, actually--for more than a month. Since the freezing New England temperatures hadn't done anything to contraindicate the use of fur-lined vinyl over plastic soles, I was not motivated to purchase alternate footwear when I first realized she had outgrown every other pair of shoes she owned.
Things changed yesterday. It was at the track behind the elementary school that she found herself left in the dust (let's be honest here--it was mud; I mean, the boots weren't totally unjustified) when the two boys she was playing with took off running. She couldn't keep up. She could only clomp. Then she could only slump. Then she could only sit there, kicking a sad sole into the dirt as her hair hung in front of her face.
My girl knows how to hang with the big boys. What stopped her from matching their stride this time was my bad planning and my inability to accept the ferocious pace at which young feet bust out of whatever tries to hold them in. I got down on the ground beside her and promised I'd take her for new sneakers as soon as possible.
Soon was today; possible was the mall. She found princess sneakers with lights that flashed in the rubber with each footfall. They were on clearance. I bought them. She insisted on holding the bag. We were on our way to the elevator when she saw a mannequin sporting bright pajamas on a pedestal ahead. "Look mom!" She shouted. "Look at that role model!"
She was running in front of me, the plastic sack smacking her thigh as her still-booted feet threatened to trip her up. She was enchanted by the smooth facelessness of the dummy. I half-grinned at her malapropism and half-cringed at her gait.
One thing was certain: if she fell flat on her face, it would be MY fault, not that of the role model she was looking up to.