When I was about Kenna's age, we lived in Fort Hood, Texas where my Dad was in the Army with the 1st Cavalry. My brother Jason and I each had our own little pair of Texas boots... mine were a little red pair. As family legend goes, I loved these boots and never wanted to take them off. I can only imagine now that I may have looked a little silly running around the neighborhood in my boots paired with the elaborately handmade, hand-smocked dresses my mom loved to make me. Here is a picture of me from that time period that my Grannie was sweet enough to send me, around 1985:
I also am so excited to still have that same dress I'm wearing, one of the many my Mom made during that time, for Kenna to wear (and have her picture taken in!). And just for a little sibling revenge, here is one of me and my brother at the same time, to prove that he was once cool enough for cowboy boots:
I searched high and low through my house and basement to find this picture. Unfortunately, the boots aren't showing (they were just like mine but brown), but hey... he did have the hat. And we had the 80s-riffic lunchboxes.
For as long as I can remember, I knew my Mom had saved those little red boots through the many moves we made over the years, "for my daughter someday." Last summer when my Dad consolidated his and my mom's house after her death, it was a long and emotionally exhausting ordeal for all of us as a family. Lots of sorting, packing and unpacking, and lots of bittersweet memories. I was so worried that things from my childhood would be lost, yet I couldn't really put a finger on what specifically I was wanting to save. One thing that I definitely knew I did want was the red boots. Box after box was unpacked... and no boots. I was getting really worried, and as silly as it sounds, to lose the boots felt like losing another part of my mom and my childhood, one more thing I was "supposed to" be able to share with her that I couldn't.
I struggle with being a "hopeful pessimist." I know I am supposed to be hopeful and always want to believe that good things can happen, but I have to work hard to convince myself of that sometimes because I am a realist at heart. I really struggled over these silly boots. I wanted to trust God that even if the boots didn't show up, He would help me let go. Finally, in the very last box that we unpacked, my Dad and Matt were unpacking it together, and they found the little red boots wrapped in paper under some family pictures.
Since then, the boots have been sitting on happy display on the dresser in Kenna's room, waiting for her to be able to fit in them.
Then, two mornings ago when Matt went to get Kenna out of her crib, she came clomping into our room wearing the boots. If I ever looked half as cute as she did in them, I can see why my Mom wanted to save them so badly! She walked around in them all morning saying "shoes!" and yelled no whenever we tried to take them off.
After she went to bed, I put them right outside the door of her room to put them away. This morning she found them and immediately put them on again.
So, even though it may sound silly, I am so happy and proud to see my baby girl in her "heirloom boots" as my aunt called them, the ones her Nana (and Papa) worked hard to save for her, and to see her enjoy wearing them- 24 years after her Momma enjoyed wearing them! Praise God for even the very, very simple gifts that we can rejoice in- how comforting to know He cares about the tiniest details of our lives!