Shoes 1: Dancing Daughter

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My children leave their shoes everywhere: on the stairs, under the dinner table, in the hallway, shoved under the couch.  For a time one of our young daughters kept her shoes in the windowsill in our room.  Gazing at them one day, I imagined that they were watching me, remembering being walked in and danced in, and wondering where that little girl had gone.  The shoes became a metaphor for everything in her that delighted her daddy.  Now she is grown and gone, as are her little shoes.

SHOES

They watch me
from the glossy cream tile windowsill,
three pairs of little shoes:
one of tan suede with embroidered smiling sunflowers,
one of shining black plastic with velcro straps and pasted buckles,
one of weathered white leather, the bowed laces too long.
They stare at me, unwavering, and interrogate:
Where is the little girl that once danced and twirled and skipped in us?

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7 thoughts on “Shoes 1: Dancing Daughter

  1. Paul

    I have been thinking about your daughters shoes these past few days. My daughter too danced, and had shoes lying all around. Even though she is now married, and has a little daughter and son of her own, my wife has kept a dainty pair of soft pink colored ballet slippers which patiently hang on the wall in her former bedroom. That small room is now a play room for our daughters two small children when they come to visit. My grand daughter likes the shoes. She talks about how some day she will wear them, when she is a little taller, and dance just as beautifully as her mother. She then twirls around the room. Practicing. Following your beautiful poem, I also imagine, our little pair of ballet shoes are happy.

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  2. maggiepea

    I loved this post, Roger. I think it is clearly a very common parent’s/grandparent’s lament and strikes us all so unawares. I wrote something very similar to this in my grandparenting blog uner the pros and cons of Grandparenting, under a heading, “Where’d they go, I’m their leader.” https://savvygramsdotcom.wordpress.com/trials-challenges-in-grandparenting/
    The best kept secret, it none of this ends with children. We carry these same feelings over into our grandchildren, it just repeats itself on and on throughout our posterity. The love is so strong, the longing (for those sweet, childhood days).
    I, too, remember getting so frustrated at shoes left wherever they took them off. (The windowsill, now that’s a new one! I even was silently cursing Harv under my breath for doing the same thing with his, big, cumbersum cowboy boots just the other day. Tripping over them in the middle of the room. It never ends. haha

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