Friday, December 14, 2007

The Ever-changing Shoes

It is funny how our identities change as we get older. Many people put this in the context of the "hats" that we wear, but I like to think of it in terms of shoes.  It struck me about five minutes ago how tied to our roles we truly are. My epiphany went something like this:
"Hello?" I inquired.
"Hi, this is (name omitted for privacy), (son's name)'s mom," came the reply from the other end of the connection.
This woman was wearing her mom shoes.  You know the ones, the shoes that are okay to get wet, muddy, spit-up on, but can still look good with a pair of jeans or corduroy pants. These are the shoes that you pay top dollar (well, okay, moms are smart shoppers, so they'll of course wait for a sale!) for because they'll get you through anything and you need them to be dependable. I'm willing to bet that this mom (my son's classmate's mom) isn't even sure when her identity formally switched from people knowing who she is based on her own name to being "so-and-so's mom", just as I'm not sure when I made the switch to being Ethan's mom . . . and now Megan's mom.  Do I have to wear two pairs of shoes now???
The great thing about our roles, like our shoes, is that we can switch them out when the need arises. For instance, now that the kids are napping, I'm wearing my author shoes. OK, really I'm not wearing any shoes right now.  That's the great thing about being a writer - shoes aren't required.
I'm fortunate to live in the same community as my parents, something I might have been less likely to do earlier in my life, but I'm happy about now. Like me, they are both active in events and groups around town and in the Snoqualmie Valley - so, people know who they are. I find it remarkable that we know the same people, but in different contexts.  For example, when I wore my sassy outgoing co-president shoes for MOD (Mothers of Duvall, a social non-profit group I helped start) I talked with a number of great folks who work for the City of Duvall to get some community service projects in place.  My parents are both Chamber of Commerce members, so when they put on their goin' out, business developing shoes, they interact with many of the same people.  BUT, here's the funny thing . . . the City people are just now learning that when I take off those MOD shoes I sometimes put on my DAUGHTER shoes (funny how those have grown with me) - at the same time that my parents put on their Mom and Dad (Dad shoes are also virtually indestructible) shoes.  We're related!
It leaves me wondering how many pairs of shoes we all have stashed in our closets and if we're fair about which shoes we let out for a wander around our world.  I think it is important for our inner balance to give all of our shoes some time in the sun. That being said, I'm off to find my fun-loving wife shoes so they're ready for date night tonight. My mom and daughter shoes are always out in plain sight and my running shoes are ready at a moment's notice, but I'm afraid the wife ones have gotten buried. I know they're around here someplace!  
What shoes have YOU neglected lately?

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