Monday, February 6, 2012

A Day in the Life

Last Friday my kids were out of school, no sickness, just one of the ubiquitous teacher planning days that sprinkle the calendar this time of year.

I had a bee in my bonnet that Child #1 needed new sneakers. We went to our favorite Hawthorne district shoe store where, to everyone's dismay, we learned her favorite sneaker maker had gone out of business. Child #1 loudly bemoaned this fact while Child #2 began to writhe underneath tables and knock over boxes of shoes.

I glanced at the well-behaved toddlers playing in the front of the store and then back at my own children and came to a decision. Child #1 wasn't going to get new shoes. The children were hustled back into the car where they proceeded to ennumerate all the ways they hadn't done anything wrong. I modeled mature adult problem-solving skills by refusing to speak to them.

My speechlessness and mature behavior lasted through our trip to the library. I checked out books and pretended the two children begging me to speak were not, in fact, my own. After the library I took pity on them and we went to the park.

The park was outside the twenty block sphere that contains our life. It's old-fashioned. The kind with real swings and a merry-go-round (a.k.a. Skull Crusher). I watched them jumping on and off, surfing with their eyes shut and gave my best impression of not being THAT mom. You know, the kind who shrieks warnings and mentally calculates whether, if someone slips off and rolls under the merry-go-round, it will in fact, crush their skull.

On the way home I remembered a shoe store in the neighborhood. On a hunch, I made the nine block detour and was rewarded by a sale sign in the window. Inside were the perfect boots, on sale and my size. Child #1 took charge. "Do you like these boots, mom?" she asked pushing her little fingers into the toe to judge whether I had room to grow.

"I love them."

"I think I'm going to buy them for you."

"Do you have any money?" I asked her.

"Yes," she pulled a quarter out of her pocket.

"You'll have better luck with this," I said and handed her my credit card.

It was at that moment I realized we'd come full circle. Mother, daughter, daughter, mother, sometimes there's very little difference. And of course, I wore my new boots out of the store. Because that's what you do when you're nine...or forty.


Tonja said...

When my middle child was about two, I took him to an adult shoe store with me. While I tried on shoes, he very quietly and systematically rearranged the shoes in the boxes. Eeek.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Some mature role reversal there. And Tonja's comment is funny!

Sarah Tokeley said...

I love that a day that started not too well ended on a high - park for them, new boots for you :-)

Scarlett said...

*Those boots were made for walkin' and walkin' is what they'll do.*

Loved this, Johanna! When my kids get the silent treatment, it is short-lived. They know there's steam in them ears, just achin' to get out.

Have I mentioned that I took a trip with my sister-cousin to Portland two years ago? We had a blast! It was her treat, to help me research my novel. BEST TRIP EVER.

All the good ones seem to come out of Oregon. I have another blogger friend that lives near by. You should check out her blog... *inside-outunderpants* @

I think you'd love her! I do.

@Tonya.. LOL

Johanna Garth said...


Alex, role reversal is good. Just look at all the movies based on trading places.

Sarah, me too!

Thanks Scarlett, Portland is such a writer's city!! Glad it helped inspire your novel.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

How sweet that she picked out boots for you! (And that they were tasteful boots, too!)

Avery Marsh said...

I love that she checked your boots to make sure they fit. And offering to buy you a pair? How cute!

Unknown said...

You made my heart smile! What a sweet munchkin!

Botanist said...

Glad the day ended on a high note.

And hurrah for old-fashioned playground equipment. I still remember the swings and merry-go-round at the park where I played as a kid. In those days, the ground underneath was concrete, not sand or bark chippings!

Aubrie said...

Awwww...your a great mommy. and I love those boots.