Shoes on the Mat

I don’t know about you, but I have a thing about shoes. I suppose I collect them, really. My go-to footwear usually consists of slippers, sneakers, flip flops, or rubber boots, depending on the season. Since most of my clothes shopping happens at used clothing stores (a teenage habit I’ve kept for life), it doesn’t cost me a lot to have a closet full of footwear, and I almost always have the pair I need, whatever the occasion. I like red leather, so I have three or four pairs of red shoes. (I also scored a red leather Ikea chair and footstool on Kijiji the other day for $60, but that’s another story).

A few years ago, when my nest was emptying, among other things, I started thinking about shoes. I’ve always loved perfect little baby/toddler shoes. In particular, I longed for the days when I’d pass through the front hall on my way to the bathroom, always stopping to check for my son’s shoes on the mat; I needed to know that he was safely in for the night. Toddling, running, skipping, hopping, pirouetting, stumbling and prancing; so many kids shoes have passed through the house over the years. I still miss them (the shoes and the kids who, in the blink of an eye, turned into young adults).

And so, I wrote an ode to those shoes on the mat. It’s unlikely to ever find a publishing home, but I thought I’d share a few verses here.

Baby booting from chair to stool to floor;

Those sneakers!

teetering , toddling, wobbling.

Bumps and boo-boos, sweet monkey grins.

Tiny white work boots shimmer like moon snails.

Safe on the mat; day is done.

Sleep well, my baby son.

Soaring, roaring, tree-climbing, velcro-flying superhero;

misty moonbeams dance like silver capes waving;

upside down heap of sneakers, asleep, waiting…

Safe on the mat; day is done.

Sleep well, my big-boy son.


Dribbling, leaping, slam-dunking, scoring;

B-ball shoes bending, bounding, crowd roaring;

shooting star wishes, dream-come-true swishes.

Side-by-side, standing tall;  night defencemen  guard the hall.

Safe on the mat; day is done.

Sleep well, my growing-up son.

Shannon, age 8 – boots a Frenchy’s find.

I’m a tad jealous of my friends who are already grandparents. Maybe one day, I’ll have baby boots sleeping on my mat again… I can always dream, can’t I?

Sneaker-wearing tourists – Woodleigh Replicas, PEI, circa 1995

6 thoughts on “Shoes on the Mat

  1. mirkabreen

    Your shoe thing is my sweater thing… especially handmade ones. EBay knows me well 😉

    There’s a reason for the expression “don’t judge a person until you walked a mile in their shoes.” And of course the Cinderella allusion, “if the shoe fits.” But I don’t know of a sweater one. Yours is the more literary passion. 😀

    1. Well, I do love a good sweater on a chilly evening. I’ve never bought vintage clothing online. I have one rainbow cotton sweater I’ve been wearing for most of my adult life; still love it. For sure I’ve lugged home lots of used shoes that “sort of fit,” then end up being recycled, yet again.

  2. I miss the days when my kids were teenagers and I would come home to a hallway filled with all sorts of footwear. I encouraged my kids to bring their friends home at any time. That way I knew where they were. So we always had tons of teenagers in the house. It got so quiet when they grew up and left, no more teenage visitors and no more hallway full of shoes. Love your poem.

  3. Yup. It’s the kind of quiet that echoes, isn’t it? Definitely a love poem:)

    See you’ve had company – what a lovely retirement you’re having! We just booked 10 days in Ireland (with sidetrips to Liverpool and Edinburgh) for the fall. Thanks for reading, Darlene!

    1. Sounds like a great holiday planned. We will be in Liverpool at the end of October. It will be my first visit there. I haven´t been to Ireland yet either. Enjoy!

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