Shoes Mean I Love You

These are my parents.
This picture was taken just six months after they met. As the story goes, my Mom was at a high school graduation party for her friend and the two of them stood in an upstairs window of the house giggling at how cute my Dad was. If I recall correctly, their first date was to see the movie, The Deep. It's amazing to think how much life has happened between then and now.
When they got married they were only 18 and 22. They didn't have any formal education beyond high school, no big plans for careers and the only thing that would have been in their 5 year plan (if they had ever heard of such a thing) would have just been to be together. Through thick and thin, living life together.
They had three children in quick succession and raised us to adulthood before they made the decision to open their home to foster care children, or as I like to think of it, the rent-to-own program. They ended up adopting 6 children through foster care and that's how they spend their days now. Raising children, just like they have since the first year they were married.

Ten to fifteen years ago my Mom went for a colonoscopy and sure enough it turned up cancer. We were fortunate that it was caught early and they removed the threat before it had spread. However, she had to go back for many colonoscopies to make sure it hadn't regrown and it never has.
As it is for anyone who has ever had to watch someone they love suffer, it was hard for my Dad to watch her go through all the testing. He wanted to ease her pain, he wanted to give her something to smile about, so he took her to Woodstock and let her pick out any pair of shoes she wanted. And it made her happy, just like he knew it would. After that it became a tradition that for every colonoscopy she got, my Mom would get a new pair of shoes.
Earlier this year my Dad went for his first ever colonoscopy. My Mom asked him what kind of shoes he wanted and he laughed and said he didn't need new shoes. After all it's mostly us women that posses an unnatural love for shoes.
The testing turned up cancer and he had to go back a week later for yet another colonoscopy. This time my Mom didn't ask, she took matters into her own hands and bought him an awesome pair of Earth shoes.
Not because he needed them, or because they are awesome, but because she loves him and buying shoes is how we say I love you in our family.

That non-exist 5 year plan has turned into a 31 year marriage and still going strong. Today, just like in the beginning they laugh together, cry together and walk together. In really awesome shoes.


Dione said...

I love their story! They sound like amazing people! How is your dad doing?

Missy said...

He had surgery on Monday to remove a piece of his colon for biopsy. They won't have the results for a few weeks. In the meantime my grandmother took the kids for 5 days so he can recouperate at home in peace.

Jollie Good Mother said...

Missy, I have written five comments today and nothing can come close to saying what I want to say. The only thing I guess to say is thanks!Oh, and Yes, we have awesome shoes!

Anonymous said...

awesome story! I hope for many more years together for them and hopefully not too many more pairs of shoes!