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OCTOBER 19, 2009 6:10PM

These Boots are made for Walking

Rate: 18 Flag


 The transition from summer to winter is one I dread and try to drag out as long as possible. The final stage involves footwear.  Despite the fact my husband calls me Imelda, I don’t exactly have a shoe fetish. I adore sandals of all kinds, but full shoes tend to cause problems with my delicate feet, so I don’t own many pairs. I’m perfectly content to spend my days in my many and varied pairs of sandals, but somewhere around this time of year, it becomes too cold and damp and the shift has to be made. Away go the sandals and out come the boots. I like boots even though they represent winter and confess I have too many pairs. I rarely go anywhere apart from visiting family, supermarkets and shopping with friends, so there’s really no excuse for the amount of boots I own.





I guess it’s just a case of retail therapy, so despite the number of boots in my cupboard I still find myself purchasing new ones at the approach of every winter. Besides, fashions change.  This year it’s the leggings and long sweater look, which screams for mid-calf and fancy ankle boots.  I attempt trendiness despite my age and the thought that I may only be wearing these outfits to go shopping for more outfits… to go shopping in… ad infinitum, is one I prefer not to dwell on.


Last week I made the switch from sandals to boots. It’s always with regret and I guess the added feelings of years racing by amid summers turning too quickly into winters make it a more difficult task each year. But these days there’s an added sadness to the occasion and one that’s hard to put into words.  I can only try.


As I put on my latest boots before visiting my son and his family, my thoughts turn to someone else.  My spirits sink as I remember the last two winters since my son married.  I know what will happen, but hope against hope it might not. We arrive at my son’s house, play and dance with the grandkids and no comment is made. Maybe this year, I’ll get away with it. We take the family out for a meal, and then say our goodbyes in the car park outside.  At the last minute my daughter-in-law turns to me and voices the words that cut me to the quick.


‘I like your boots, Mom.’


I turn to her, utter my thanks and smile.  She returns the smile, but I know how much she’s hurting and the injustice of it all makes me feel angry, guilty, helpless, humbled and desperately sad. I won’t say I totally worship my daughter-in-law or deny there are times I could cheerfully strangle her, but  there isn’t a moment goes by I don’t wish  I could take away the cruel, physical knocks life has thrown at this young woman.


Contracting polio and being left undiagnosed is only one of her problems. It has left her unable to put her small, twisted right foot to the ground and resulted in much muscle wastage to her leg. She cannot walk very far and has a clumsy gait which causes the uninformed to stare and no doubt surmise under their breath. It limits her choice of footwear immensely.  It’s not so bad in summer; she can manage with wedged sandals and I always make the effort to wear the same when I’m around her.  On the odd occasion I wear high heels I console her with the fact they are killers and easy to fall off after a few glasses of wine.


But with the boots it’s different. Whether they are flat, wedged or heeled, there is no way she will ever be able to wear them. Having to spend the winter months in sandals is inconvenient and impractical for her, particularly with our miserable weather, but not being able to join the fashion conscious youngsters or even not-so-young, is a nasty blow when you’re only twenty-three.


‘I wish I could wear boots.  It makes me so sad,’ she continues.


I smile at her again.  I tell her she’s young, pretty, has two beautiful children and hopefully a lot to look forward to in the future.  Better that than to be an old fuddy-duddy, past her sell-by date who probably looks ridiculous in funky boots. But it’s at moments like this I’d willingly give her my legs, my ability to walk and all the damned sandals and boots into the bargain. After all, I’ve had most of my life and where do I go apart from visiting family or shopping that necessitates wearing kinky boots?


But I can’t.  I guess all I can do is offer thanks for what I can do and prayers for those, like my daughter-in-law,  who can’t. And if I’m not going anywhere exciting, I can still go out there, whatever the winter weather brings and simply walk.


New Boots

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Awwww, you are such a soft hearted woman. I know you mean it too...and I remember the trials and tribulations of the past few years...and I'm still not surprised she gets to you.

Hey, I see you found some fringed boots...beat me to it. xox
Like Sheila I remember the past few years and all the trials....for you and your daughter-in-law both. I am constantly amazed at what a big heart you have and how much you feel the pain of others. Bless you sweetie, and bless your daughter in law too.
Living in the South, I can were sandals almost all year long. Maybe a month total with uncomfortable shoes. (I hate shoes)
Michigan---edeck shoes summer, western boots winter.
You, my dear, have a heart as big as Texas. You big softie.
Bless you and your family, and your boots as well!
Everybody wears boots where I come from....all year long. You'd make a good Texan.

So sad about your daughter-in-law...but, she is very lucky...she's got you.
I lived for a time near you in Grantham and I cannot imagine having to go through a cold, wet English winter in sandals. Is there a way to get a pair of boots special-made to fit her right foot?

You are a sweet, sweet mother-in-law for making an effort to make her feel comfortable with the shoes she has to wear.
You're very sweet in your feelings about your daughter-in-law.
Nice boots too!
I hear this, Linda. My best friend has CP, and it has badly damaged her right leg. She can't wear cute shoes either, and it's hard on her.
Only you could make me laugh and cry in the same entry!
I'm a boot/shoe person too but like you, I hesitate to wear them until the last possible second. So sorry about your daughter-in-law. I can't image wearing sandals in damp, cold weather.
So you have pink boots! Kinky!!
Buffy Dearest - I know you know and I know you know there will be more of this story to come. I know you'll bear with me too. Sorry about beating you to the boots...not. lol Love you.

Torman - We all know about crosses to bear and sharing our pain. You have helped me tremendously through many trials and tribulations and I hope to be there for you too.

Scanner - I have serious sandal envy.

wschanz - So how many boots do you have?

Unbreakable - Thanks. Takes one softy to know one. ;-)

Owl - Thanks. Bless you, your family and boots too.

Planner Dan - Thanks sweety. I intend to see Texas and boots next visit, God willing.

Leandra - Grantham? Really? I used to spend many evenings at a Chinese restaurant there. We hope to have some input with help on footwear for her, but these things move slowly.

Spotted - Thanks. You can borrow my boots any time you like.

AshKW - I'm pleased you empathise. Shoes aren't everything but so hard when you can't wear your choice.

Winda - Well, I think we both know about sharing those two emotions. Much wub to you.

Emma - Thanks for dropping by. It's hard to walk a mile in another's shoes...or not.

Z Bitch- Wanna borrow them? ;-)

Jane - That is so sweet, thank you. There's much more to the story which may or may not be revealed.
You're a very sweet lady. :)
This is nice, Linda. I like those sort of burgundy colored boots. I've never seen boots in that color before.
This is such a touching story of the love between you and your daughter-in-law. Empathy, I think sometimes, has become a rare quality which you obviously possess. I'm glad you have each other.
I always wondered, if we put all the women's shoes in a row, how far would we get? At least to the moon and back, and who knows where else in the galaxy!!

This is a sweet, loving post. Thanks.
Linda, I suspected a big ole heart underneath the funny stuff, and here it is. What a touching story, and how great that you love your daughter in law enough to want to give her all those shoes! I get claustrophia in boots. Great post, funny too, and congrats on the EP. Well deserved. R
Gargantuan feet and tendonitis issues limit my footwear choices, but I feel blessed just the same. There's a Persian Proverb that states "I felt sorry because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet."

Your daughter-in-law has your love and I assure you, that's worth more than all the shoes in Bloomingdale's, Harod's, Macy's and Sak's Fifth Avenue put together.

I think I'm gonna have to stop here, Linda. You're lovely sensitive nature, so well expressed here, has me all teary eyed and my fake masculine mascara is threatening to run!!!

What talent turning an ordinary commentary about boots into this lovely tribute to your MeyLing. I'm glad I found this place!