Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fancy Shoes

My daughter will be seven in four days and I'm wondering if I should get her another pair of shoes. She's into fancy shoes now, the ones that only Cinderella would probably wear. A couple of weeks ago, we had a disagreement about this at the shoe store. I brought her there to buy a sensible pair of shoes to replace her two-year old purple Crocs. She would have none of it. Instead, she pointed to this pair of pink peep toe shoes with glass heels and insisted on trying them on. I showed her a cute pair of preppy sneakers, something age-appropriate. She would not even budge from where she stood. I was starting to get annoyed at her willfulness and was about to transform into the wicked stepmother when a brief memory of my childhood flashed before me.

It wasn't about a pair of shoes. It was a dress. A white dress with a blue sash that my mom instructed me to wear to mass every Sunday after I had just turned seven. I had not known its significance then, but I obliged for a few months until one day, I just stopped wearing it. My mom never brought it up again, but I knew she was disappointed, and I felt guilty for a long time after that.

And now, here was my daughter insisting on a pair of "high-heeled" shoes and she was not even seven! I made a last attempt to talk her out of it, telling her how she can't wear it to places we normally go to. "But I can wear it on my birthday, mom. I want a fancy dress-up party." And that's when it hit me. I did have a pair of glass-heeled formals, only they weren't pink! She had made me promise many times to bequeath this pair to her when she was big enough to wear them.

So there she was, with her feet in glittery stone-embellished peep toes trying so hard to walk properly, and me holding on to pastel-hued madras sneakers which she reluctantly tried on after I groveled. We ended up buying both.

That night, in her pajamas, she tried on her fancy shoes once more and exclaimed, "Mom, these are the best shoes I've ever had!" Then, turning serious and sentimental, she said in a hushed tone, "I'm going to give these to my daughter when she's big enough to wear them."

So now, here I am, thinking about what other stores sell fancy shoes for seven-year old girls. After all, they're a lot cheaper than heirloom jewelry.