Mama dropped the ball BIG TIME.
Last week I figured it was time to go get Hannah some summer shoes. I thought the ones she wore all winter might be getting tight and they really weren't appropriate for the beach and other summer type activities. Due to the Great Flood of March 2010, all of our local department stores as well as my beloved Stride Rite are closed due to the several feet of water that filled our mall. Hannah needed new shoes though and I couldn't wait until August to see which of the stores in the mall would be reopening once the main building reopened. So off we went in search of somewhere to buy shoes. Unfortunately, because of Hannah's AFO's (braces) I can't just pick up a pair of shoes at Target that look like they might be the right size. Well, I guess I could, but I'm not comfortable doing that. Payless and the other discount shoe stores are pretty much the same way. Finding someone there with knowledge of how to properly fit a shoe is rare and I'd never trust them to know how to fit a shoe to a AFO. Fortunately I had seen a little shoe store in a shopping plaza we sometimes frequent that I thought I remembered seeing children's shoes displayed in the window at. That would be our first stop. I prayed we'd be successful. Luck was on our side and the store did sell children's shoes, high quality ones at that, for pretty reasonable prices. I was willing to pay more than the Target price in exchange for the salesman's knowledge of how to fit those shoes to Hannah's AFO. I was so pleased with how he interacted with Hannah and he really knew what he was talking about as far as the braces went and how to fit them. He even commented that he thought her AFO's might be getting small too. This guy was awesome. I was riding high until he actually measured her foot. The shoes Hannah walked into the store with were a size 10 1/2. He measured her foot at a 12! OMG! I had been letting her run around in shoes that were a size and a half too small for who knows how long. I totally felt like the worst mother ever! We manged to find a pair of summer style shoes that worked with her AFO's and fit her foot and when we had settled on the style, he even remembered Hannah's favorite color and went back to check if any shoes in the style we had chosen were in that color! They were and he quickly exchanged the pair Hannah was wearing with the coveted purple Keens and we were done. Except for the little snafu about shoe size, it was the most enjoyable shoe shopping experience I have ever had. I'll definitely be buying all our family's shoes there from now on.
As we were walking out of the store Hannah decided she wanted to check out the big girl bikes on the sidewalk in front of the store next door. I told her we needed to drop off her shoe box and old shoes in the van first. As we were walking back across the parking lot to look at the bikes Hannah spotted a lady, probably in her mid 40s, headed to one of the other shops. Hannah shouted across the parking lot at the woman, "Hey! I got new shoes! Do you want to see my new shoes? They are purple." The lady, who obviously never had children of her own, gave us a disgusted look, ignored Hannah's question, and kept on walking. Hannah was so confused. She wanted to know why the lady had not acknowledged her. That was a tough question for me to field, but I did my best as we continued to walk to the sidewalk. Just as we reached the sidewalk we passed another lady sitting on a bench outside the store waiting for the bus. She looked right at Hannah and smiled and said, "Well, I like your new shoes. Purple is a beautiful color." Hannah just beamed and chattered on about her new shoes with the lady for several minutes. I was so grateful for that woman being kind enough to let Hannah have her moment to share her excitement about her shoes, especially after her confusion about being shot down earlier. I have no idea who she was, but I hope she slept well that night knowing she made one little girl very happy.
Photo Notes: Yet another fabulous white board masterpiece and pictures from Hannah helping Kyle plant a garden in our backyard. Doesn't she look a little like Paul Bunyan swinging his axe or John Henry with his sledge in that second picture!?!?