Walking in Her Shoes


I’m trying to walk in her shoes, but they are a tad high and a bit uncomfortable.  Very uncomfortable in fact and not just for my feet, but for my heart.

Saturday night was Homecoming for my daughter.  She is my baby, my love, but she’s 15 and I’m trying really hard to understand.

The afternoon started with a trek to Sephora for makeup. I leave her there with a 20-something makeup artist named Amy.  I come back 30 minutes later, and Amy is working intently on her sparkly green eyeshadow. It’s time to find a cup a tea and a quiet spot in the mall.  Another 30 minutes go by, and still no text. Perhaps someone has kidnapped her! Old habits die slowly. Nope, she’ll still there, the finishing touches are being put on her lips. She looks like everyone in Sephora, which is ok if you work there or in a Broadway show. As we leave, Amy tells her to be safe.  The 20-something tells her to be safe! Eeek, I’m a complete fool to allow this, I think, but I don’t say anything.

When we get in the car, she looks in the mirror and wonders aloud if it’s too much. I say…nothing. She sends pictures to all of her friends. They send pictures. They all look the same: eye shadow, cat eye liner, lipstick. She’s relieved. And in a strange way I start to fit a little more comfortably in her shoes.

I remember calling my friends, talking on a phone that was attached to a cord, having intense conversations about what to wear, and attempting to look pretty much like everyone else. I surely didn’t have the courage to break away from the crowd when I was 15. Looking at her doing pretty much the same thing, I get it.

She went with her three friends. The shoes were identical, the dresses equally short, the hair, long and curled. While shocking in isolation, it was monochromatic in a group.

I’m still uncomfortable. I hold my breath and say silent prayers. I tell her to be safe, to text me at various points in the night.

Is it the same as when I was 15? Yes and no. And does it really matter? Growing up has always been perilous and uncomfortable.

I can’t buckle her up and tuck her in any more. Now, I wait for the text, for her to get home, lock the door, and get to bed.

1:00 am. She’s home.  One day closer to growing up and out of this danger zone, teetering on high platform shoes, hoping not to fall.