Sunday, August 22, 2010
When T was little, one of the cutest parts about him were those two small pudgy feet. We constantly marveled at the notion that they were just like ours, but miniature. When he was first born and sleeping in his vibrating seat (often the only way to get him to go to sleep) we would hold one in our hands and gaze at it in wonder. As he grew, so did they. For a time our feet were roughly the same size. If he needed to take a dog on a quick spin around the yard, he inevitably slipped on my galoshes. This past year he has grown at an alarming rate, and so have his feet. They have surpassed mine, and his curls tower over my own. Somehow I've become the shortest member of our household, a position I didn't think I'd hold for another couple of years. Oh how he adores putting his arm around me and reminding me of our height difference. Believe it or not, his feet have almost surpassed M's. I'm certain one day they will stop growing, but who can say when that will be. No matter that they leave deep tracks in the sand or large mud prints in the house, they give him such a strong foundation and provide a solid base for a steadily growing boy. Hopefully we've also helped him to learn that putting one foot in front of the other can take you wherever you wish to go.
Baby feet never look capable of any of those activities we take for granted when we are old – walking, dancing, standing on tiptoe. They're more like soft stumps that need to be kept warm, delicate peas for toes, smooth purply skin that's never seen the inside of a shoe. Bizarre alien appendages that require frequent kisses. Of all the strange parts on babies, feet might be the strangest. These feet belong to the new baby of my oldest friend. Someday H and I will describe what our boys are up to during our annual visit – she and I have a friendship that lies dormant beneath the surface of daily life and blooms like desert flowers in a yearly rain. Someday she and I will share a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream and describe how happy we are that our boys are at college/in Europe/married/having babies and then we might fall quiet and feel sad, the tiniest bit sad, that those baby feet have carried our babies so far away from us. But mostly we will be happy at our amazing good fortune, that we made healthy children with strong feet, that we are still friends after so many years. That we are full and giggly from ice cream, like we used to be so often in the sixth grade. Here's to the years ahead.