Wisdom and Patent Leather Shoes

Hosted by Two Writing Teachers

Hosted by Two Writing Teachers

My mom tells the story this way:

When my oldest sister was a baby, the trend was that babies wore “white high top shoes.”  (I’m not sure what those looked like; this is my mom’s story, not mine.)  Well, she saw the cutest pair of black patent leather shoes for her baby, bought them, and brought them home to show them off.  My grandpa looked at those shoes, and told my mom, “Oh honey, she has her whole life to wear patent leather shoes.”  So, my mom returned the shoes and bought the standard white high tops for her daughter.

She has her whole life to wear patent leather shoes.

Don’t rush her.  Let her be a kid.  Let her grow at her own pace.  Let her make mistakes.

Be patient.

I love that story, and I wanted to share it with you.


16 thoughts on “Wisdom and Patent Leather Shoes

  1. That was always my parents’ thought, too. If you do things too early, what do you have to look forward to. Be a kid as long as you can. Then when it is time to grow up, you are ready. I think we let kids do things too early now, and when it is time for them to be responsible and grow up, they regress under the pressure.

  2. I wish there were more black mary jane days. Although, have you noticed that grown women seem to love wearing mary-jane-inspired shoes, jumpers, tiaras, dangly earrings? I remember a headline I read in The Onion, a satirical newspaper, something along the lines of “Nation Down to last 100 grown-ups.”

  3. Great advice… More parents need to hear this.. esp when it comes to clothing for girls. Let them be kids! Thanks for sharing. Btw, they DO still sell those high top standard white shoes. My mom bought my son a pair at 111th off Kedzie when he started walking about 7 years ago. 🙂 She said he needed support for his ankles and insisted. haha

  4. Interesting. Until I read your ending about letting her be a kid longer. I thought what your grandfather said was negative.
    Your mom wanted something special for your sister. She wanted her to be unique and not have shoes like all of the other children.
    Your grandfather crushed her dream of special shoes, and she returned them.
    Without the ending I wouldn’t have know what you thought about the story.
    We approach writing and reading from our own world view.
    Your grandfather sounds like a kind man.
    I would love to have the white high top shoes today, and be a kid again.

  5. I love this post because it shows advice being passed down from so many generations (grandfather to your mother to you, and now you are passing the story along). There is always a certain family story or piece of advice that we remember, and I love this one. As teachers, we remember to let kids be kids from time to time. It is great to remember as a parent, as well. Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed this!

  6. My favorite part is that wearing those shoes made your sister a grown up. He he he. I feel like she got downgraded too. Hightops? Like Reeboks? Did she ever get to wear the patent leather shoes? Is she wearing a pair now?

  7. I have been working hard at thinking about the genre of memoir and what makes a memoir a memoir. I think you have written a little memoir here with your asides and reflections of a family story. Thank you for helping me frame my definition.

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