I was about 8 years old. I needed a new pair of school shoes. My mom was working that night, so it was up to my dad to take me shoe shopping. Catholic school meant my choices were pretty limited- Black, not cute, and either laced or some kind of velcro craziness. Don’t judge, it was the 80′s. I knew that going shoe shopping with my dad was my chance to get shoes that I wanted to wear. This included patent leather, some sort of rhinestone/bow clip on, and they were probably going to be totally unsafe for school.
Purchasing anything with my dad was a process. Once, when he took me to buy my backpack (bookbag in those days) I had to try it on, walk up and down the aisle of the swapmeet, and listen to the vendor convince my dad this was the one that would last me all year. It was navy blue and looked like a boy’s backpack. So not cute. There were never any impulse buys at our house. Everything was bought “con calma.”
So there we are in the middle of Payless looking for my school shoes. It didn’t take long for me to find them. Slip on, shiny, and bow-fabulous. I tried on a few other pairs making obvious “these won’t work faces” until finally slipping into the gotta have shoes. As I walked around the entire store for the Dad test, I was extremely careful not to let him see how slippery these were. I had to curl my toes so they would stay snug and not accidentally slip off my heel, ruining my plan.
“Are you sure you can wear those to school?” This was the only question my dad asked. After lots of pleading and begging, I was the new owner of the most adorable, smooth as glass patent “leather” shoes.
The next morning could not come fast enough! They looked great with white twice folded socks. Obviously, my feet were creatively kept out of my mom’s view as I got ready for school. Flash to the next scene: Recess and kickball. When it was my turn to kick, I knew this had not been good idea. I will spare you the details, but let’s just say there was a shoe flown in the air and a bloody nose involved. My mom marched me right back to Payless that night and bought me ugly shoes with no hesitation on my part.
Thinking back on my shiny shoes, I know now that my dad wasn’t an idiot. Throughout my life he has been a man of few words, and has taught me all I needed to know through his actions and examples. He has allowed my to make many mistakes, and I’ve learned from them (and continue to learn) without judgement. This Father’s Day, I I want to thank my dad for being that silent coach throughout my life. I love you Dad. And yes, I kept the shiny shoes
My Mom and Dad 2012
An early Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful dads out there! Enjoy your weekend