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If The Shoe Fits

It was a wonderfully bright sunny day and I was relegated to errand-running with my kids. I felt anxious to get it over with, to get outdoors. In and out I chanted as I drove down Reserve Street.

I was definitely a little frantic, a little hurried. I know that mindset is disastrous when I am with my children. Because they aren’t operating at my urgent frequency. In fact, it is usually when I am in that mission-oriented space, that Ruby walks zig zag and Margot chooses to perfect swinging from one leg on a bike rack.

We did manage get in and out but then Ruby’s shoe fell off and she desperately wanted it back on. But then off again and shrieking to have it back on. You know the game. We were on a sidewalk and I carried my four bags worth of stuff in my one puny canvas tote that cut into my shoulder, Margot was walking away from me toward traffic and Ruby wildly giggled and thrashed about the shoe. I shifted gears, scooped Ruby over the shoulder opposite the tote and ran to grab Margot’s hand. Once we were all together, Ruby yelled for her shoe that languished, again, in the middle of the sidewalk several steps behind. I asked Margot to fetch it.

We made it to the car and were off. Except Ruby kept chatting about her shoe. I told her we could play the game when we got to the park but she wasn’t happy with this answer and then I peeked and saw she was still shoeless. I wondered out loud, “Margot, where did you put Ruby’s shoe?”

“In the hole, ” she replied.

“What do you mean? In what hole?”

“Just in the hole. There are all kinds of holes, mama.”

Just then I hit a small critter that flew up and hit the windshield hard. I looked in the rearview mirror and didn’t see anything. My heart was racing, I was in four lanes of traffic and couldn’t pull over. Was it an animal? Was it stuck on my car? What the hell? I dissected the happening while Ruby yammered about shoes and Margot asked, “What WAS that mama?”

I pulled off when I could and turned around. As I drove and scanned for a evidence of the object that flew at my face, Margot continued to tell me about the hole, “It was just that little hole.” I asked, “At the store? Did you leave Ruby’s shoe in the parking lot?” She was frustrated with my density. She sighed, “No, mom. Just in that hole next to all those holes in the car.”

I then surmised she meant the wheel. I explained the hub cap and she excitedly! agreed! that was where Ruby’s shoe was! And I realized that was what I had most likely hit. We looked a bit for the tiny shoe roadkill to no avail and decided to go to the park. Once both of Ruby’s feet were bare, sister was ok with it. I understand needing that balance.

But then, many days later Ruby strutted through the kitchen in both shoes. It was quite confusing and I did this whole wondering-if-I-had-been-dreaming thing in my head. I asked Andy about it. “Oh yeah,” he said. “I found it on the roof.”

He knew the highway shoe story and smiled at the idea that I had put the shoe on the roof all along. But I explained that the tiny old shoe was wedged in a wheel well, flung at high speeds out from under the car directly toward my head, bounced off the glass and gripped a nook where it hung out for many rainy days and road excursions about town.

He said that made no sense. I said it doesn’t have to make sense. If the shoe fits, wear it.

Categories: essays

Nici Holt Cline

A fourth generation Montanan raising a fifth, Nici Holt Cline is a mama to Margot and Ruby, wife, gardener, crafter and runner who loves to write and take photos. She writes regularly on her popular blog dig this chick.
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