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July 17, 2010

The heels of my pink, bedroom slippers drag along the linoleum floor as I slowly shuffle down the long, sterile hallway. I think pink is my favorite color. My daughter reassuringly pats my hand. She’s wearing her brave smile. It’s the same one I remember from her first day of school.


Cheeks already flushed red from excitement and the sticky August heat, she hopped out of the passenger seat, shoe laces flying. She could make beautiful loops, but hadn’t quite perfected the art of the swoop. I left the car running as I walked around to her side of the car and bent down to start with the right laces.

“A child old enough to start kindergarten should certainly know how to tie his or her own shoes,” called a shrill voice. We both looked up to see a teacher, her teacher, walking toward us, all hair-pins and malice.

I stood, ready to swoop my daughter up, protect her from the world’s judgements. Keep her as my baby a little bit longer. We could paint with watercolors. I’d show her how to make loops and swoops all day.

But she just jutted her little chin out, and replied, “Well, I’m still learning. And you’re my teacher. So I’m sure you’ll be happy to give me some pointers.” Then she flashed me that smile, hugged my knees and walked into adulthood, untied shoe laces flapping with each brave step.

And now, my memory is lost in the details. It’s instinct that’s gotten tricky. The drive home. The difference between the refrigerator and the pantry. How to tie my shoes. I’ve forgotten how to tie my shoes. Loops and swoops, something about loops and swoops. Untied shoe laces made my daughter suspicious. Compelled her to make this doctor’s appointment. So here we are, her chatting quietly with the doctor while I sit on the exam table, trying to get comfortable with the loud crinkles of paper echoing around the room. Waiting for the doctor to tell me I’ll slowly fade away.

He glances up at me over his clipboard. “So, Mrs. Huffman. Tell me, how does one tie their shoes?”

I look at him. Think. Sigh. I look down at my pink slippers and defeatedly say “They remember.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jessie permalink
    July 17, 2010 4:15 pm

    LOVE this. Very well written and touching.

    • sarahlorene permalink*
      July 17, 2010 4:24 pm

      Aw, thanks Jessie! Thanks for commenting too 🙂

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