When my niece was 9 she came for a visit over summer break. Much like me, she loves to shop. She wanted to go shopping for shoes so I took her to a store simply called “All Shoes $9.99”. It “specializes” in all things high, bright, and garish (most of the shoes are made to adorn the tootsies of women employed in less-than-honorable professions).
She was in heaven. Although only 9, she was tall and could wear a women’s size 5 shoe. She immediately latched onto a pair of bright yellow slip on heels with a wide black and white polka dot strap accented with a floppy neon sea anemone thing made of ribbons near the toe. She held them tightly to her little chest, looked up at me and said, “Can I get these?”
“Of course!” was my response.
As we continued to look around she noticed that these amazing shoes came in different sizes… her next step… find them in my size so we could having matching pairs. And so a tradition was born. Each year when she came to visit we’d happily run over to the “All shoes $9.99” store, find the perfect pair of matching shoes, then come home and model them for my in-laws, husband, and my sister-in-law (her mother). As the years have gone by the reaction upon our arrival home has gone from horror to acceptance to laughter.
She’s now 17 — but the tradition continues. One of the first things she said when she came for this summer’s visit, “Can we go shoe shopping while I’m here?” I was happy to oblige. Corrupting my niece brings great joy to my heart… I hope it will continue for years to come…