• Caroline Donough

My Mother's Shoes



In July last year, Mum had a shoe malfunction. It happened the day we went to see The Lion King (Jon Favreau's remake). At the time, my brother was visiting from Australia, so he, Dad, Mum and I went together and made an afternoon of it. I still remember...


Though it was a weekday, the car park at Subang Parade was fuller than usual. But we were lucky and spotted a vacant space fairly quickly. After I had manoeuvred my car into the bay, we made our way up into the mall.


As we were walking towards the cinema, Mum's sandal suddenly gave way. The sole came apart, and so we had to stop and see what we could do to help her. Our first instinct was to have the sandal fixed, but the mall's shoe repair shop quoted a rather high price, and Mum felt uneasy about going through with the repair there. She said it would cost a lot less at her usual cobbler and she'd prefer to bring the sandal to him on another day. OK, but she can't carry on barefoot on one side for the rest of our afternoon out.


Hmmm...


And then I had an idea.


I always keep additional footwear - mine - in the car... and as luck would have it, Mum and I wear the same shoe size. Not joking. "How about wearing a pair of my shoes?" I asked. She agreed, her eyes lit up, squinting slightly, as she flashed me that soft, gentle smile that is so her. So off to the car I scooted, and back I came with another pair of sandals for her to wear. Sorted. Mum was happy and we still made it to the cinema with time to spare.


That was a truly memorable day... one that I think I'll remember for the rest of my life.


Well, a year has passed, and for the first time in my life in nearly five decades, I'm alone in a way that I've never been before. And I have to admit it's hard to come to grips with. I will say this, though: it helps to know that Mum and I share (present tense not a typo) a great deal in common. And inasmuch as I was able to come to her aid that day at the mall, it is she who's helped me my whole life. Even when I didn't deserve it, she's always been there for me. And now I find myself walking more and more in her shoes. And I'm honoured.


"My beloved mother, I'll love you forever..." 💖

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