I was feeling pretty small. Mighty low, as this guy would say. A run of bad circumstances over a few days plus my tendency to over-analyze situations and then take things personally was really taking an emotional toll on me.
But then – an unexpected gift. Something that blasted those dark clouds away so fast that I wondered how they even managed to roll in in the first place. It was a ceramic bank in the shape of a pair of ladybug boots. It was a hundred happy memories all rolled into one little tchotchke.
Our Julieboo has a pair of fuzzy ladybug boots. We bought them for her on our 11th Anniversary trip to Toronto after walking all over the city just to find the perfect gift. Seriously, I think we covered 5-10 miles that day – it was our first real trip away from her and we didn’t want to come back empty-handed. We found them in the little shop at the bottom of the CN tower, and I must have debated for 20 minutes whether or not I wanted to spend $30 on them (way more than we’d usually spend on a gift). If she wore them, they’d be worth every penny. If she didn’t, we’d have to eat that money. We knew that Emily would never have worn them, and since Julia was so different from her sister we thought that put the odds in our favor.
And boy, were we right. It took about 2 months, but once she warmed up to them they were on her feet all the time. Church, the park, vacations, shopping – I think she even wore them at Disney once. Everyone we know is familiar with Julia’s ladybug boots. We had to put ponytail holders near the tops to keep them from falling off, but I honestly think she would have worn them no matter what.
I wasn’t worried about the boots getting ruined or dirty – little feet aren’t little for long and shoes like these were made to be enjoyed. The soles are just pieces of leather, and the beginnings of holes are starting to appear. They’ve gone through the wash a few times, but still have a hint of “stinky-feet” smell in them. The red fuzz comes off easily. It breaks my heart, but they weren’t made to last forever. Eventually they will end up in the trash can. And I’ll probably tear up a little.
That’s why this gift was so special. My sweet friend Leanette saw the bank at a store and immediately thought of Julia and her famous ladybug boots. When she gave them to me at church I nearly cried. I can’t keep Julieboo’s fuzzy red boots, but I can keep this bank. It’s the perfect way to remember such an iconic part of her toddlerhood. And yes, I plan to keep it forever.