When I was sorting and cleaning today, I ran across some precious things I had hidden away. Yep, baby shoes. Each pair is a storybook full of memories that unfold before me in a single glance.
The navy blue double T-straps on the far left first belonged to my eldest daughter,. We bought them for her when she was about 15 months old; her very first pair of dress-up shoes. They remind me of her little blonde pony tail and the flannel blue-and-white jumper she wore for Christmas and the special days of having just one little girl in the house. Eventually, they were worn by all four girls. This is an especially lovely thing about having four babies of the same gender; so sweet to have quadruple hand-me-downs.
My third-born picked out the black T straps with delicate leather bows when she was barely two years old. She found her fashion sense early, that one, and insisted on wearing these shoes every single day. Her pretty shoes, she called them. When I see them, I immediately recall the red flowered dress and matching yellow flowered tights that she wore endlessly during this same phase, and she was adorable.
Hot pink Mary Janes? My second, who was most difficult to fit and hard to please with new shoes, absolutely had to have these. She picked them out when she was four, and often wore them with a white and pink flowered dress that was way too fancy for everyday wear, but who was I to say no? The flowers in the dress were a perfect match for the shoes, and together they made a darling outfit. Of course, she liked to complete the outfit with a pair of bright red tights, which struck me as a bit jarring, but four-year-old fashion rules are not for mommies to understand.
The last pair was chosen by my fourth born. She wore a lot of hand-me-downs, of course, so it was a special treat for her to buy something new. I think I enjoyed our shoe shopping trips just as much as she did, because it was so interesting to see how she would express her own sense of style. These black patent leather Mary Janes suited her perfectly; she spend many an afternoon playing out in the neighborhood with the big kids wearing these sweet shiny shoes.
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During the early and very busy years of family life, it's practically a full-time job trying to keep everyone in clothes that fit. I often felt like my girls' needs changed as often as the tides; out with the old clothes that were suddenly too small, and in with the new. In that chaos of constant growth and adaptation, I'm glad I thought to keep these precious symbols of childhood.