(story by Mir, from WouldaCouldaShoulda)
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start over.
Yesterday I took my daughter to Goodwill with me. I've been a dedicated thrifter since high school, which is a fancy way of saying "I'm cheap and I don't mind buying used." It's only recently that my teenage daughter put two and two together and realized that the chances of me saying "yes" to a purchase at a thrift store are astronomically higher than if we're at, say, the mall. (This is a no-brainer to me. A t-shirt for $2? Sure. The same t-shirt for $35? Uh, no.) So nowadays if I say I'm going to the thrift store, she's eager to join me.
As it happens, I was looking for shorts for my son. And as it often happens when it comes to thrifting, the thing I needed that day was in short supply. It seemed silly to leave five minutes after I discovered someone had apparently bought all the boys' shorts, so we wandered around for a bit. My daughter reminded me that she needs a pair of nice flats (she has outgrown her last pair, and even outgrown borrowing mine), so we headed over to the shoes.
Shoes are my least favorite thing to shop for, used. I don't want to wear someone else's grungy shoes, and it's not like you can throw them in the washer the way you can clothing. Still, sometimes you get lucky and find what are essentially brand new offerings that have been discarded by their original owners. As I scanned the racks, my eyes landed on a cute pair of black flats that looked about the right size for her. "How about these?" I asked, pulling them down. Of course, as soon as I did so, I discovered they weren't flats at all, but pumps. "Oh, never mind," I said. "I didn't realize they were heels."
"They're kinda cute," my daughter said, which surprised the heck out of me. She's a very no-nonsense kid, and never misses an opportunity to tell me that I wear "ridiculous" shoes when I dress up. She took one from me and looked it over. "What size are they?"
I turned over the one I still held, looking for the size marking, and discovered both that they were the correct size and that they were a fancy brand. Like, $150 fancy. And also brand new. And $6. The savings went to my head—I told her to go ahead and try them on.
They fit perfectly, and she wobbled her way around me in a small circle. "I think I might break my neck in these," she giggled.
"They're not that high," I said. "And you'll get used to them." She took a few more steps. "They're really nice shoes, and you'll need them for high school next year. If they're comfortable we should get them."
She smiled. "They're not nearly as uncomfortable as I thought they'd be. They're nice, actually. I think I'd like them."
So we bought them.
On the way home, I told her the story of my first pair of heels: For my Bat Mitzvah, my mother bought me two pairs of heels (and really, they were barely heels). The first pair, I wore to Temple for the actual event, including carrying the heavy Torah around the synagogue, which had a rather slippery floor. I spent the entire walk around the congregation silently praying I wouldn't stumble. The second pair, I wore for the big party that night, along with a floor-length dress. Halfway through the evening I managed to hook the heel of one of my shoes into my dress hem, resulting in an emergency wardrobe repair in the bathroom with a few safety pins. I'd been just a year younger than my daughter is now, and I remember thinking that those two pairs of shoes, much more than the "becoming a woman in the eyes of the community" events of that weekend, were what made me feel grown-up.
My girl chuckled at my story, and said she'd make sure she practiced wearing her new shoes before she wore them out of the house. Which, I guess, explains why she proceeded to put them on at home and wear them through dinner that night.
I was fine with it all—I really was—right up until she was helping me in the kitchen, and I realized that she was no longer wobbling. Not only that, while I was barefoot and she was wearing the shoes, she was now taller than me.
That's when I had to take a couple of deep breaths and get ahold of myself before I burst out into a chorus of "Sunrise, Sunset." Honestly, who told this child she could go turning into a bona fide woman? At least she's one with excellent taste in shoes.
Do you remember your first pair of heels? Is there something like this for boys/men, or is this a "special" thing just for us ladies, like bras and tampons (we apparently have all the luck)?
(Get more Mir here)