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Posts Tagged ‘shoes’

Flip flops and Mary Janes

I learned to tie my shoes when  I was about five years old.  We lived in an apartment in the Bronx and my mother had spent all morning trying to get me to tie my shoes.  I couldn’t do it.  No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t tie my shoes!  The way I remember it, I gave up and in a fit of frustration my mother stormed out of the apartment.  I was terrified.  Where did she go?  When would she come back?

So this is what really happened – my mother left me to my temper tantrum, went next door to ask our neighbors something, and came back within five minutes.  As my mother told her version of the story, I asked her why it was so important for me to learn how to tie my shoes.  Her response, “They wouldn’t let you go to Kindergarten at St. Mary’s if you couldn’t tie your shoes!”

Determining whether or not a child is ready for Kindergarten based on their shoe-tying ability is not really fair in 2011.  Most parents, myself included, purchase shoes for our children without laces.  My classroom is filled with flip flops, Crocs, Cars shaped Crocs, sandals, sneakers, boots, and my favorite – the Mary Janes with velcro.  Not only do our children not have to learn how to tie shoes, they don’t even have to learn how to use a buckle!  By St. Mary’s criteria, only one or two of my students would be considered ready to enter Kindergarten each year.

      

Besides determining whether or not my future students are ready for Kindergarten (and subsequently first grade), I think about being ready all the time.  Perhaps it’s a function of my OCD tendencies – I obsess over minute details ensuring that I am prepared for  all possibilities.  Perhaps I was a boy scout in a former life.  Whatever the reason, it seems that most of my life is spent getting ready for something.  Getting ready to go.   Getting ready for bed.  Getting ready for school.  Getting ready for college.  Getting ready for the exam.  Getting ready for the performance.  Getting ready for a trip.  Getting ready for the holidays.  Getting ready for work.  Getting ready for the wedding.  Getting ready for the baby.  Getting the kids ready.

But no matter how much time and effort I put in to getting ready, life is more like a game of Hide & Seek – ready or not here I come!

We weren’t ready to lose our dog this week.  It was supposed to be just a routine dental procedure.  Maddie woke up from the procedure and was never the same again.  Her physical life with us ended on Tuesday, but her mental life ended last Thursday when she never fully recovered from the anesthesia.  I am truly grateful that we had that time with her.  In a way we were getting ready to let her go completely.  We could snuggle with her, pet her, kiss her, and just be with her.  Yes, it was painful to hear her whimper and cry during those sleepless nights, but it would have been so much harder if she never woke up from the anesthesia.  We wouldn’t have been able to say good-bye.

I took care of all the details.  I signed the paperwork.  I paid the doctor’s bills.  I arranged for the ashes to be delivered to us.  I called our vet at home to tell her the sad news.  I baked the clay paw print the vet made in her office.  I put away her collar, her leash, and all her medications so we’re not surprised by them.  I did this all for my husband, because he could not.  We all loved Maddie, but she was truly his dog – like Snoopy and Charlie Brown.  As sad as I am, I know he is even more so.  I think a part of my sadness is for him.  I never truly felt those words, “I am sorry for your loss,” as much as I do right now.  I am always sorry when someone loses a family member or a friend.  But the sadness I feel for my husband right now overshadows the loss I feel for Maddie.

There is a piece missing from our family right now, but I won’t be getting ready to fill that missing piece.  Time will eventually make the missing piece feel a little smaller and we will get another dog.  The new puppy won’t fill in Maddie’s piece, but carve a new one into our family circle.

Despite my OCD tendencies, life is going to happen whether I am ready or not.  I can’t avoid any parts the way I avoided shoes with laces for my boys.   Perhaps I need a little retail therapy today – a pair of pink, sparkly Mary Janes with velcro straps seem to be calling me (just don’t tell Sister S. from St. Mary’s).

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