These Boot Are Made for Walking

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While some folks spent their early twenties looking for love, I spent a good part of mine looking for the perfect pair of cowboy boots. And because I didn't have much money it was a mostly a thrift-shop treasure hunt. I knew what I wanted but never seemed to stumble upon it in the right size. Then, one magical day, two of my closest friends came over with a beautiful pair of perfectly worn snakeskin boots, size 8, that they'd bought for me at a yard sale. For $2. Pretty great, right? But I'm not finished; something special must be going on with my stars as far as footwear goes because my daughter has already exhibited far stronger shoe predilections-and the good fortune to find them-than me. Since it's better for babies, and we live in SoCal, I pretty much kept her barefoot until she started walking. But from her first moments of staggering around like a drunk, she had strong preferences for what she'd allow to cover those cute, little monkey toes. For a while, she'd only wear a pair of neon pink Chuck Taylors-forget the recommended soft-soled shoes-my girl wanted to clunk around and look cool. Wearing them, she plodded along like a duck whose feet had been submerged in concrete. Then something even better happened to her in terms of mobility: She discovered boots. We were shopping at a hip clothing store (you fill in the blank) and I made the first-time mama mistake of letting her stumble around the store. But unlike lots of toddlers, she didn't pull stuff off shelves or have a fit about the escalator; instead, she made a beeline to a pair of cherry-red cowboy boots in the kids section. The conviction with which she moved was startling, especially since she had only been walking for a handful of months. It was as if, in utero, she'd been studying the layout of each (you fill in the blank) store and knew exactly where the red cowboy boots were in every location. Once she had the boots in hand, she demanded to put them on-even the smallest size was still way too big for her tiny feet. Proportions did not hinder her; the top of the boot nearly covered her knee, yet she clomped around with a sure footedness that was shocking. They even had a piece of elastic tying the right boot to the left so the sizes wouldn't get mixed up which forced her to take awkward half-steps, and, still, she didn't trip. In a cosmic sense, these boots belonged to her whether or not they actually fit. I knew that like my $2 boots, this match was meant to be. I had to pay for the boots while they were still on her feet. Having found footwear even heavier and more cumbersome than her pink Chucks delighted my little darling, who stomped around the shopping center like I had long ago pogoed in Doc Martins. I knew it was probably horrible for the development of her feet, but I didn't care. Her love for the boots was beautiful. That night she cried when I removed them so she could take a bath and the gesture made me proud; she already knew that dressing yourself shouldn't be about fashion as much as what feels fun.

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