His Shoes

by Jennifer on January 15, 2013

I entered his room with a singular purpose, the plastic trash bag bound for Goodwill in my grip.

This room is so full. His drawers are full. The bookshelf is full. The room is so plump and overstuffed it stifles any occupant, the gravity created by the masses of Stuff sucking the oxygen from the room.

Fresh off of Christmas and his seventh birthday, I have been on his case about cleaning out the old to make room for the new, all those little boys who need clothes and toys and would love to have the things he can do without, how much more he would enjoy what he has if he just had the ability to actually see what he has, the importance of letting go, and on and on.

Well now was the time. With Little Boy K out of town for his twice-a-month visit to his other household, I planned to get a jump-start on this process, removing what I knew he would not miss.

I started with the pajama drawer. The top layers were easy, consisting of things he just outgrew too quickly or weren’t a style that he prefers to wear. I matched superhero tops to superhero bottoms and made a massive pile of red and blue, Spidey and Star Wars, that I would transfer into his brother’s room for future wear.

Towards the bottom of the drawer, I started pulling out the footie pajamas, the ones that zip up the front and have little rubber treads on the feet. My breath began to catch in my throat at the familiar patterns of choo-choo trains and puppy dogs (the time before superheroes) as the images of morning snuggles and after-bath book time flashed through my mind. I held them up, to see how tall he was.

I can see him in them.

Like magic, the fabric in my fingers expanded from its two dimensions to three. I pressed the material against my nose and inhaled, closing my eyes and willing myself back into those memories, hoping to catch even the smallest hint of his baby smell amidst the detergent.

I love every molecule of Now. But I still miss every moment that came before with the finality that comes from knowing I can’t have them back.

I have a task to complete, I thought with a sigh. Besides, someday Baby S could wear these too.

I turned my attention to the basket of shoes, overflowing with rubber, velcro, and Spiderman. Lining them up on the floor in front of me, I matched them up in pairs until they formed a little wall. Opening the plastic bag, I grabbed at the first pair.

They didn’t make it into the bag.

What is it about their shoes?









Is it because it’s just so easy to see those little feet in them?

I can remember picking out each pair, kicking them under the couch, pulling smelly socks out of them to toss in the laundry, cleaning mud off of them after our morning at the playground, holding onto them when he tried to climb the railing at the zoo to retrieve Iron Man from the elephant exhibit.

I can see him in them.

They went into the bag but the bag went into the closet, not to Goodwill.

I can find a way to store eighteen years worth of shoes.

I can, right?

It looks like letting go is something I could work on too.




Linking up with the wonderful folks at Yeah Write.  I’ve missed them mucho lately and look forward to reading all the awesomeness that can be found round about their neck of the woods.  Stop on by, I guarantee you’ll find something you like.

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Jules January 15, 2013 at 10:54 pm

I still find little shoes from years back and they make me smile. So sweet to remember those little feet in them.

Louise Ducote January 16, 2013 at 4:21 am

When the feet get bigger and smellier it will be easier to let go, I promise. The shoes my thirteen-year-old grows out of are absolutely revolting! But I have my own bags of adorable little Thomas the Train shoes, so I hear you. Be glad your memory is so clear, that you can see him in them, and write about it.
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My Half Assed Life January 16, 2013 at 6:32 am

Mine are 17 and 21. I finally let the infant clothes go a couple of years ago. It was so very hard. I had them bagged up for months before I could just let go and drop that bag off at the goodwill.
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Mayor Gia January 16, 2013 at 6:44 am

Sureeee…Just build an addition to your house. 😉 Or a “shoe shed.”
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Samantha Brinn Merel January 16, 2013 at 8:17 am

I love that picture of the shoes all lined up. It’s kind of like a growth chart in a way, isn’t it?
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Marcy January 16, 2013 at 9:33 am

Nice post. I deal with these thoughts all the time (two teenage boys). Reviewing the photos of when they were small helps me to let go of a lot of the physical objects. I tend to save their little toys and beat-up books more than their shoes, but it’s the same sort of impulse, I think.
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Stacie @ Snaps and Bits January 16, 2013 at 9:58 am

I so get this! I allowed myself to keep a few things. Once they get bigger, stuff wears out and/or isn’t really cute anymore!
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Cindy - The Reedster Speaks January 16, 2013 at 10:32 am

Love this line: Like magic, the fabric in my fingers expanded from its two dimensions to three. Oh, the stories our objects tell, the movies they can make our minds play :)

Katie January 16, 2013 at 12:16 pm

It’s the worse… Why I keep trying to talk my husband into another one… I can’t let these little years go!
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Angela Ryan January 16, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Beautifully told. You made me want to keep my two babies little forever. Such a great, moving post.
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IASoupMama January 16, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Oh, the little feet… I adore tiny shoes and the wee little feet that go into them.

But my seven-year-old son destroys shoes. So they are not cute rememberances. Jammies? Yes. Shoes? Not as much.

Lovely post!
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Jared Karol January 16, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I suppose this happens to every parent, yes? My twins will be four next week. . .I remember when they were four pounds. It’s hard to let go, but, damn, if the clutter doesn’t bug the crap out of ya! :)
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Kerry Ann @Vinobaby's Voice January 16, 2013 at 3:58 pm

I keep far too many “keeper” clothes. He’s a boy, I’m sure his wife will be absolutely thrilled to get boxes of his old used junk someday, but… He destroys his shoes, so there’s nothing left to keep now, but those footy p.j.s…oh how I miss those. Great post!
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Christie tate January 16, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Keep them. I am keeping my son’s. Mostly all spiderman and some random Target shoes in the mix. I love this post.
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Kathleen January 16, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Oh, mama. I wish I could tell you the letting go gets easier, but it just doesn’t. :(

Beautiful post. This line really pulled at my heart:

“I love every molecule of Now. But I still miss every moment that came before with the finality that comes from knowing I can’t have them back.”
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Kristin January 16, 2013 at 8:07 pm

I really liked this post. You have spurred my desire to have my favorite outfits and sleepers and such made into a patchwork quilt. I want to snuggle with my babies when they are long past that.
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Ladygoogoogaga January 16, 2013 at 8:57 pm

It feels like we are rushing them….thats why my kids’ drawers are busting and their rooms are a mess…..

TriGirl January 16, 2013 at 10:51 pm

You always write the most bittersweet posts.
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Gina January 17, 2013 at 9:54 am

I loved those velcro shoes. I thought my son would never learn to tie but of course he did. But I can still see his feet in them too. My kids are waaaay old now, 22 and 19, and they do their own Goodwilling and I’ll say “Are you really going to give THAT away?” Letting go is extremely hard but life gives you a lot of practice to make it tolerable. Great story.
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Lisha Fink January 17, 2013 at 10:30 am

Lovely reflection. But once they hit puberty, they won’t be so cute any more. They will stink to the high heavens! You won’t even want the ones he can still fit in lying around. I think puberty may be nature’s way of helping mothers let go.
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Ginny Marie January 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm

I have problems letting of my little girl’s toys! Some times I just want them to stay little….
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Dawn Beronilla January 17, 2013 at 1:04 pm

The pajamas! Oh the pajamas!
My little heart got heavy and my eyes watered just thinking about it. Your words, especially when you described the pj’s, were incredible. So accurate.

Great job!
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Michelle Longo January 17, 2013 at 3:20 pm

I find it so hard to part with my boy’s clothing. I totally get where you’re coming from here!
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Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom January 17, 2013 at 6:33 pm

I save my boys’ shoes too. I just found a pair of Converse All Star hi tops that I want to hang from the rear view mirror. 😉
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Mamarific January 18, 2013 at 10:17 am

I was just thinking about how much I’ll miss the footie pjs :(
You said it all so well.
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