Saturday, 14 July 2012
Almost every night, before we close the blinds and lock the dead bolt. My youngest son and I take off our shoes and walk around our neighborhood. Walking barefoot brings you closer to the earth, it slows down your pace and lets you relax. We do this together almost every night the weather permits. The cool sidewalks on our soles.
Tonight, we had rushed out of the house to get to the park before nightfall. The older boys rode their bikes and mike crawled into the car without shoes, surely prepping for our barefoot walk, unbeknownst to me. I had sandals on, my legs and feet already sore from swimming all day. I didnt even notice he was barefoot. When we reached the park, he reminded me that he was barefoot and that we would have to walk slow. I paused, weighing the options of going back to the house for shoes, or having a child barefoot on rocks and sand.
We know our neighborhood well, we've walked it a million times. The park is another story, it is full of rocks and sticker bushes, wood chips and random garbage. He pulled me along as we get out of the car, brothers right behind us. I ask him if his feet are okay, if he is comfortable. He insists that he is. The pavement turns to sand, and into course rocks only about three hundred feet in front of us.
As we walk, since he has no desire to play on the swings or climb on the monkey bars, he simply just wants to walk, we talk in quiet tones about our day. What made him happy, what made him sad, how much he enjoys having his brothers home. As we get further down the path, he starts to slow down, gripping tighter on my hand. I squeeze back, and stop. Bending down I place my sandals in front of him and he slips his tiny feet into them without a sound. He smiles up at me and we continue walking.
Its then that I realize how fast he is growing up and how little I can do to stop it. He is quickly becoming a little boy, who will turn into a young man, and eventually into a man all his own. I am powerless to stop it. Totally and utterly powerless.
"Your feet hurting, mommy?" He asks me, with an expectant raise of those delicate eyebrows.
"Im okay boog." I tell him.
Im walking over sharp stones, and having sticks jammed into the tender soles of my feet. Im wincing at the pain, and markedly slowing as we tread forward. He gets several paces ahead of me and then, without warning, he changes direction and heads straight up the hill. I stop, watching him for a moment. His silhouette against the backdrop of a setting sun. My brave boy is climbing mountains, and ultimately, Im giving him the shoes to do so.