On the way back from our little weekend getaway to the southern shore of our fine Midwestern state, we piled out of the Jeep first at Taco Bell across the highway from the outlet mall, and then secondly, in front of Stride Rite down the far left corridor of shops in Edinburgh.
Because any self-respecting mother of children with wide feet knows that Stride Rite tennies are better than the gaggle of other options.
And Stride Rite tennies at an outlet price are best.
So, all four of us traipse into the store for one pair of four-year-old shoes. The elder two guys walk past us in favor of the clearance rack in the back. In the meantime, Grant tries on the perfect pair that are orange and grey and I search for someone to officially measure his feet.
Because it's been a long time since he had new tennies. In fact, his last pair of Stride Rites were purchased from a Facebook garage sale group -- for $4. And since my little is as happy as a clam in virtually any circumstance, you'd never know they were smallish on his chubby feet.
Which, I'm thankful for. Really.
The sales clerk works her measuring magic and suddenly the store shrinks. "He definitely needs a Wide. Like maybe these over here..."
She highlights the shoes that are $20 more than the orange and grey pair.
We're nothing, if not agreeable, so onto his feet they go. It bothered me that the little velcro strap at the top wouldn't span the width of his foot, so I fixed it by pulling harder. "Done."
"Oh, don't do THAT!" the sales clerk preached while undoing the velcro strip. "He has cartilage on the top of his feet. THAT will hurt! When you velcro shoes make sure you can slide a finger between the top of his foot and the shoe, like this..." She refastened the skinny strip at the half-way point.
Oops. How is it that I've made it this far in life without knowing this tangential tidbit?
Grant hops up and sprints down the 'up-to-10.5' aisle. "These are fast!"
And expensive. And only grey.
"What else might work for his feet?" I inquire, hoping for some creative problem-solving.
She takes the bait. "Well, you could always pick a medium-width shoe but go up a half-size."
Done and done.
"Then, can we find the orange and grey shoes in a larger size? Do you have 9.5's?"
Because here's the deal -- before we even walked into the store he specifically asked for orange shoes. It's our informal team color. Orange shoes, orange shirts, orange socks, bathing suits, flip flops, cups, spoons, napkins, bedding, sweaters in my closet...I digress.
"Well, we don't. But it looks like a store around Chicago has them. We can do a phone sale."
Meanwhile, the elder two move from the back of the store to the front. With a box. Of unsolicited tennies.
The elder little launches into his sales pitch. "These are only $24! And they're perfect! Look, Mom -- orange and grey! Can I have them since my Nikes are yucky and these are nice and a little bigger?"
Batten down the hatches. With this weekend's track record, how will it really go if we walk out of here with one surprise shoe box and one promised pair?
The last straw..."Daddy said he thought they were a good deal. And I can't wear them until my other shoes are kaput."
"Alright, then; lay the box on the counter."
"Thanks, Mommy, I love these shoes! They're perfect." the elder little pronounces before all manner of other littles and their parents.
The smaller little attaches himself to my left leg. "Mommy, where are my shoes?"
[Pull out cheerleading skirt and pom-poms.]
"Your shoes are so special they are coming in the mail from Chicago to our house. Do you think they will fit in the mailbox or will someone leave them on our front porch?"
He thinks. Normally packages retrieved from the mailbox after school are soft-sided envelopes from the Facebook Anthropologie Buy-Sell-Trade group and can be stuffed in spaces much smaller than ours. Or they are books. And books can fit just about anywhere.
The diversion helped. "I think the mailman will bring the shoes to our front porch. Yeah, the front porch. When, Mommy?"
"In two to five days," I parrot.
The elder little joins the cause, "Grant! That's exciting! You and I will get shoes on the same day...maybe. My baseball cleats we ordered are coming on Friday! We will definitely have to check the porch. Both orders won't fit in the mailbox."
Ah...the promise of new mail...new shoes...and new orange and grey items to add to our collection.
"Nine West, anyone?"