Tying my Mom’s shoes

My Mom is an amazing woman.  She is 4′ 7″ of energy.  84 years of energy.

My Mom used to be taller.  She was once 4″ 11.5″.  Yes, she was that tall.  But I never thought of my Mom as anything short of, well… Energy.  Movement.  Force.  Beauty.  My Mom exercised well before it was the thing to do.  I remember my Mom skipping rope, cycling, hula-hooping and dancing from the time I was a very little girl.  My Mom learned to golf just so she could walk a golf course.  My Mom could do a cartwheel in her 70’s.

Arthritis and scoliosis and sciatica problems have side-stepped my Mom during the past couple of years, but this hasn’t stopped her from walking a mile or more each day along the halls of her senior housing complex.  She insists to me that she uses her walker during these walks, but I don’t think I believe her.  Truth be told, if I sneaked into her building I would most likely find her running along the halls.

And my Mom loves fashion.  Audrey most definitely got the Fashion Gene from my Mom… styles, colors, fabrics, accessories delight my Mom and she is very good at creating outfits.  But I think shoes are her guilty pleasure.  She used to wear spiked heels, very high ones, and this is where I got my love of high heels.  I loved to sit in her closet and try on pair after pair of high heels and click click click around our house.  I know I have written about this before…

But today was a bit different.  I took my Mom to her audiologist to get fitted for new, high-tech hearing aids.  The parking garage is a bit of a walk to the office, but I wouldn’t dream of asking her to take her walker.  Not any more.  I wouldn’t dream of asking her to wear sensible shoes.  No way.  And today was business as usual.  My Mom came out of her building with her huge pocketbook, the one that weighs 7 or 8 hundred pounds.  She was wearing fabulous blue pants, a black/blue/yellow/coral flowered blouse and a coral jacket that, as she put it, “Picks up the color of the flowers in the blouse.”  True.

And she had on her stylin’ black shoes… flats, thank God, but ones that tie.  She looked beautiful, as always.

When we were safely inside the audiologist’s office, I glanced at her shoes and realized that one had come untied.  I got up from my seat, knelt at her feet… and tied the shoe.  In a double knot.  It was the double knot that got to me.  I had, earlier in the day, tied one of my grandson’s sneakers.  In a double knot.

I could feel the lump in my throat as my fingers nimbly tied and double tied that shoelace.

All those years of click click clicking around in my Mom’s shoes had never quite put me in her shoes.  I felt that today.  I felt in her shoes… an extention of this person whom I remember tying my shoes.  In a double knot.  Over and over again until I learned to tie my own.

I swallowed hard before I looked up at my Mom, hoping that she would not see the tears I was fighting back.  She didn’t see.  But she was tapping the other shoe on her other foot… telling me that the laces were too slippery anyway, and wondering aloud why anyone would put such slippery laces in women’s shoes.  True.  And I was happy that I hadn’t asked her to take her walker and wear sensible shoes.  Those things aren’t for my Mom… that bundle of Energy.  Movement.  Force.  And Beauty.

I only hope that at 84 I’ll be half the woman my Mom is.  Well, I don’t want to be 2′ 3.5″.  But you know what I mean!

Tying my Mom’s shoes was last modified: February 9th, 2010 by Sharon Couto
SHOWHIDE Comments (7)
  1. “…picks up the colors of…”
    Must be a generational thing. My Mom used to say that a lot too.

    I can feel the sadness as your Mom and you begin transposing roles. There’s is a certain melancholy, sure, but how wonderful that she is still here for you to care for, and how beautiful that you are able to do this for her.

    And you do it gently, unobtrusively, in your own inimitable way.

    What a treasure for you both.

  2. Love this post! I still say “picks up the color”….I love your mom and I’m sure you will live a long life as she is. I know what she means by those slippery good for nothing shoestrings that keep coming untied. I too got teary eyed at the part about you tying her shoes. I find myself doing for my parents that reminds me of my own grand-children. I hate old age! I hate watching the aging process, but it’s a part of life. It’s great that your mom took care of herself and is so full of energy. She is so blessed to have a daughter like you.
    I wanted to thank you Sharon for the very sweet comment on my blog. I don’t see myself as a writer and sometimes I can’t always express myself like I want to, but you give me the encouragement I need. I thank you for that! Hugs!

  3. It amazes me how you manage to find the time, the energy and capacity to share yourself with everyone you love and who return also love you.
    And you always look for nothing in return. We are all blessed to have you in our lives.
    I love you… Barry

Tying my Mom’s shoes was last modified: February 9th, 2010 by Sharon Couto