Shoe purchases = surrogate grand-parenthood

“I got a pair of pink sandals for Zo at REI,” my mom told me excitedly. Zo is my friend M’s 2-year old. “Oh, and I also got you a pair of hiking boots, since you mentioned your old pair is getting worn out.”

This is the scary thing about workaholic, driven school prinicpals who retire: they channel a lot of that energy into . . . shopping. (Admittedly they also take up tennis, dog-walking and hiking.) My mom used to shop mildly, but it seems to have intensified of late.

“You used to never buy me stuff!” I kidded her.
“That’s because you’d recycle or regift the things I got you,” she retorted. True enough. Hence we started the tradition of taking each other out for a fancy, upscale dinner for each other’s birthdays. It was not a small thrill, to go to Chez Panisse and blithely order wine . . . on my twentieth birthday.

Back to the point. My mom gets to see Zo on occasions when we have get-togethers; so Zo’s the closest thing my mom has in a grand-daughter. Likewise, across the pond, my dad and step-mom have my nephews UFO and BEA to indulge as grand-sons. The pitter-patter of their feet inspired my step-mom to buy them camouflage sandals on a recent trip to Sattahip!

People buy clothes as gifts for little kids all the time. But with shoes, where the sizes are more critical, you know it’s serious!


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