the case for sensible shoes… and freedom

My mother is struggling to find comfortable shoes.  Therefore, I am struggling to help her find comfortable shoes.  Sore feet do not make for happy people.  And we need to find some happy around here!

She finds shoes in catalogs.  I order them online.  We go shopping once a week and come home with more.  Sometimes they get returned, but mostly not.

The other day she had me mail a package to my sister.  Then told me she sent the “cute, blue stretchy pair” to my niece.  It occurred to me this might be an inherited family trait.  My grandmother used to complain about her feet all the time.  She bought shoes all the time.  Offered them to me all the time.  Or… mailed them to me.

Quite a while ago Mom was fitted with sensible shoes.  They have special inserts to address her particular foot problems.

She does not wear them.

Except when she goes to the doctor.

Admittedly, they aren’t pretty.  But if they keep you walking, why wouldn’t you wear them?

So last week at her appointment the doctor asked me the questions…

Dr – “does she wear these other than when she comes to see me?” (sounds like he’s been this route before)

Me – “um, no”

D. – “does she scuff around the house in slippers with no support”

Me – “um, yes”

I felt like a horrible, rotten, betraying daughter.  And Mom was pretty crushed.  The doc made it clear there is no magic pill or potion for happy feet – – just good support.  Period.

And then Mom said it – “Well, I guess I’m just vain about my feet and shoes”.

Yes!  Yes!  Me too!

Except it’s not about my feet and shoes.  It’s all the rest of me.

This past year has been full of major events.  Among them, two son’s weddings and a formal military retirement.  Every event had its share of picture-taking.

I try to avoid being photographed.  This can be accomplished by being the photographer.  Short of that, I do my best to hang in the background or camouflage myself behind a shoulder.  Afterwards I spend an inordinate amount of time criticizing myself.

Why do I do that?  It’s no secret that I’m over weight.  No camouflage hides that.  And I’ve lived on this earth for 67 years.  No secret there either.

And before you know it, the special day is over.  There are pictures to prove it… I’m just not in many of them.

A few weeks ago some of the family dropped by.  We had dinner then sat around the table gabbing.  I love that.  My granddaughter was on my lap as my daughter-in-law snapped our picture.  She asked permission to put it on Facebook.

I surprised myself by agreeing.

Later, privately, I did my usual lament about an overdue trip to the hair salon, the make-up-less face, the double chin.  I loved having the picture, but hoped no one would scroll down my page and actually see it.

But really, how much longer will this granddaughter sit on my lap and wrap her arms around my neck?  Or her siblings?  Her cousins?  Not much longer.  I want pictures of that, not only in memory but to hold in my hand.

And do I really want to waste one more minute thinking about things I cannot change?  Or worse, fretting about something I can change but haven’t?  Nope.  I don’t.


So the last few days Mom has been wearing her sensible shoes… mostly.  She’s trying a little harder to make the good choices for her health and accept what can’t be changed.

Me too.

And personally, I’ve always loved sensible shoes.  Maybe I get that from my other grandmother?






4 thoughts on “the case for sensible shoes… and freedom

  1. My Godmother was in her 90’s when I took my Mom to the hospital to visit her after a procedure. Mom had forgotten the room #, but glancing in a door and seeing the gold slippers, I knew we had arrived. Agnes didn’t want to use a cane either. That medicinal grey did nothing for her outfits!

    Grey didn’t do anything for an elderly friend, either. She’s the one who changed out of boots into her pumps in the lobby of a medical facility so her Doctor wouldn’t see her looking frumpy…

    Perhaps orthotics in gold lame tennis shoes? 🙂

    I had to give up my pretty shoes a number of years ago and I’ve never quite gotten over it…

    And Brooke, you are beautiful. It shines through your eyes. No one else will worry about the things we do. Certainly not the child who wants to be in your loving arms.

    I’m reminded of an elderly, elegant lady who addressed a luncheon group I once attended -‘ Dress so that one look satisfies.’
    And a peer friend, who told me 30 years ago to always get myself ready for anything first thing – and that included lipstick. I need to remind myself of these things as age and circumstance has made me feel like I’m excluded from thinking about them. But I see my friend on FB. She hasn’t forgotten!

    I’m going now to put on some lipstick 😉


    1. I love the story about Agnes! Priceless. And your friends advice on getting ready for the day is a good reminder. My husband and I do alot of work outside the house and inside… and then with looking after my parents I’ve gotten into a very, shall we say, ultra casual way of dressing for the day. 🙂 I could use some lipstick myself! Thanks so much, Elaine. Loved your comments.


  2. Natalie J Vandenberghe

    What a great picture!
    I can relate to uncomfortable shoes 😦
    I love the paragraph just above the picture. I hope your words rub off on me.
    p.s. I think you’re beautiful.


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