Monday, September 19, 2011

Special for Special

Oh, I could have used this jar of change!
When we were young parents with three small children, we were always struggling with finances.  ‘Struggling’ is a mild word, for I was doing down-right brutal, in-the-mud, hand-to-hand battle with money, or the lack of it. 

I was frugal, careful with every penny.    I was so frugal that I would stop in the middle of a roasting parking lot in 114 degrees to pick up a flattened penny. 

It was about the end of the month that I noticed that our 2 ½ year old son, Johnny, was walking slowly and seemed to have problems with his feet. 

The GP doctor said that his feet were pronating which means

to turn into a prone position; to rotate (the hand or forearm) so that the surface of the palm is downward or toward the back; to turn (the sole of the foot) outward so that the inner edge of the foot bears the weight when standing.  

Laces on, tie shoes; untie shoes, look for shoes

He sent us to an orthopedic doctor who would diagnose and write a prescription for special shoes.

Centipede from James and the Giant Peach

Specialty doctor?  Special shoes?  Money, where would we get the money?

Somehow, God provided, and we brought home the ugliest shoes a boy has had to wear from Stride Rite shoe store (good store, by the way).  They were brown leather, laced up over the ankle, and the sole had been adjusted for Johnny’s feet.  Putting them on and off reminded me of the centipede in James and the Giant Peach.  They cost $85.

 That may not sound like a fortune now, but in 1981 when the mortgage rates were 16.5% and we had no money, it was a fortune.

 Needless to tell any mother out there, boys misplace everything.  Everything.  At the end of the first day after bath time, the shoes were somewhere.  My oldest daughter found them, and I talked straight into Johnny’s face about where the shoes would/should go each time he took them off.  He nodded, as if he understood a word I had said.

 For the next two days, we played hide-and-seek­ with these shoes made of gold.  Finally at the end of the third day, I pulled Johnny up into my lap, and gave him the shoes, telling him (with tears in my eyes) that these shoes were made especially for HIM, because he was so special.  With big eyes and a solemn nod, he went off to bed.

 Before I turned in, I decided to make sure the shoes were where they were supposed to be, and they were not.  Growing more and more frantic, I searched the house with my husband.  We looked everywhere, no shoes.

 I was ready to burst into Johnny’s room and wake him up, to ask him where the shoes were.  I opened the door and walked in.  What I saw changed my whole perspective.

 Johnny was lying on his back with that soft kissable baby face.  Tucked under each arm was a shoe, with his special arms tightly wrapped around those special shoes. 

 I kissed his rosy cheeks and brushed back his hair.  God bless this child!  I tiptoed out.







  1. Yep...every year when we scraped the bottom of the barrel for new winter boots our little girl would take them to bed with her the first night. So sweet.

  2. Susan, that was such a loving story. You have such great writing skills. I am always in awe of you.

    I had four children, and the money issue was always there. I worried about buying shoes because of how expensive they were and how quickly the children's feet grew,. We always bought Stride Rite and it was always a big bill. Today, my children buy their kids shoes at Target.

    Susan, that was s

  3. Scrap by myself, had kids I'd be up a creek..haha

  4. Dear Susan, This is a lovely story. And a lovely tribute to your son, Johnny.

    Children can truly tug our heart strings by their innocence.

    I hope that yoiur son gets the opportunity to read your posting today and to discover his own deep down goodness.


  5. Beautiful, beautiful post Susan. I can see his sweet face mirrored in my own little boy's. Wonderfully written!

  6. Oh This made me cry! What a sweet sight that must have been!
    Blessings, Joanne

  7. Sooo sweet! What a precious little boy.

    P. S. I LOVE your other post too (the list of worst movies). Arnie in NY LOL! Sooo funny :)


Go won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!