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.

20 thoughts on “Walking in Her Shoes

  1. Your piece made me cry! First thing in the morning! My boys are just graduated from hs, but how well I remember those days of homecoming dances– watching them struggle to figure out who they were going to be…

  2. Yes, your piece made me cry too, both from the memories of that worry but also for the thought that girls would need to wear so much makeup and wear SUCH high heels when their natural beauty is so great.

  3. Oh my, this is so beautifully written. The metaphor of walking in her shoes that you carried throughout the piece is powerful. I’m tucking this slice away in my heart. My girls are 1 and 4…. but I can see myself feeling exactly like you did here in the future. Thank you.

    • Thank you. I’m resolving to love more of the moment because it all matters. All stages have their troubles and their joys. Here’s me looking for the joy.

  4. I felt like I was right alongside you. I pictured the glittery eye shadow, the photos back and forth, the phone with a cord on the wall, the worry until she was home. My G-d I’m scared now. I’m worried about princess panties (http://raisealithuman.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/princess-panties-really-really/), which seems like nothing compared to what you’re going through. Little people, little problems… big people, big problems. That’s what they say about parenting as kids get older, right?
    I think being a teenager is much tougher now thanks to not-so-lovely things like SnapChat. (Sigh.)

  5. I look back at the time when my daughter was 15 and wonder why I was so worried. Now she is an ocean away. Perhaps the teenage years were training for future.

  6. I don’t have kids, but I want them. So, while I haven’t gone through what you’re writing about, your piece made me feel some of those same emotions, on some level! If this is how I’m feeling right now just reading about it, I’ll be a complete wreck if this day ever comes for me! Wonderful piece.

  7. This is truly bittersweet, & I agree with someone earlier, it is a time to cherish, but oh so hard to let them out the door! I loved the way you shared all the feelings, and the way you did get into her shoes! It’s a wonderful piece of writing, & love “One day closer to growing up and out of this danger zone, teetering on high platform shoes, hoping not to fall.” Fifteen year olds are not easy, but are also wonderful. Thank you!

    • Bittersweet defines so much about her right now. It is so hard to figure out what’s best. As parents we shoulder the responsibility no matter what. Writing and getting your wonderful feedback helps ride this wave with more hope. Thank you.

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