Today, E got ankle braces (AFOS). She needs them because her toes are always pointed, and because of that her Achilles is shortening. She cannot bear any weight through her legs, and is often noodle-like when pulled to stand. The hope is that the AFOS will stabilize her feet so that her hips can strengthen.
She was fitted for them 3 weeks ago, and as silly as it sounds, I was excited! Not a typical “progression” excited, but excited because she would finally be able to wear SHOES.
Now, some background: because of my behemoth feet, I do not sport stylish shoes. But oh man I would if I could! Dainty flats, colorful running shoes, and all sorts of high heels would all fill my closet. (Best for our budget that I can’t have them, obviously). Because I’ve never really had cute shoes, I SWORE my daughter would. Her outfits would match perfectly (HA! Most days I’m just happy she has pants on, socks are bonus points), AND each outfit would be finished off with dainty, flowery, sweet baby shoes. Then, her therapists advised that she shouldn’t wear shoes until she walked… and then suddenly walking became a question. Would she ever walk? And seemingly stupid, but important to me: would she EVER wear shoes?
But today finally came! I bounced her eagerly on my knee and flew through the appointment because our next stop was TARGET. I was going shoe shopping with my girl!
I got to the shoe aisle and found a woman and her mother were picking out Easter shoes for a girl around E’s age… flowery, dainty, little shoes.
I sidled past them and then quickly saw that the pickings for sturdy, yet cute shoes were slim, far slimmer than dainty shoes. Then, after shoving many, many, MANY shoes (different sizes of the 3 offered) on my patient daughter’s sweet braced feet with not one pair fitting… I called her Orthoist. Her Orthoist gently explained that we will probably have to special order them online, and that the pickings could be even more slim.
So there I was, crying like a big footed baby in the Target toddler shoe aisle. Then, I looked over at her, SITTING IN THE CART (don’t even get me started on how much I love that), wearing the braces that are the first real step (pun DEFINITELY intended) towards walking, and I took her face in my hands and kissed her. I realized: She isn’t dainty, even at 3 pounds, 6 ounces she wasn’t dainty: she is a tough, sturdy little cookie… and you know what? This sturdy little cookie is gonna WALK. Our girl WILL walk.
So, I left the deeply desired dainty shoes and the not-wide-enough-to-fit-a-brace sturdy shoes behind in that aisle, because I couldn’t care less if she’s walking in muck boots or plastic trash bags when the day comes. Because that day is coming. When our girl will walk beside us, sweetly, smiling, and sturdily.