September 1, 2021

For most of her nearly 12 years, our granddaughter Amelia has been a fashionista. Even as a toddler, she wore her onesies and baby hats with a certain style and panache.

As young as age three, one of Amelia’s favorite pastimes was to go into my closet, pull out a dress and a scarf. She’d find some earrings and a long forgotten necklace and then, the piece de resistance, she would find just the right shoes and purse. It was always a combination that I had never thought of, and dang, it was good. I was pretty sure that by the time she started PreK, Saks or Em’s would be calling her for advice.

But there was one piece of clothing that Amelia lusted for, one thing she has often gone into my closet to try on to see if maybe, just maybe, this time they’d fit. Like Cinderella and the wicked stepsisters, she would zero in on shoes. Not just any shoes. She wanted my favorite red, kickass, Kate Spade backless pumps with the kitten heels and a “hello there” red leather bow. These Barbie-esque babies can take a little black dress and pearls out of the “Grandmother Claverie” look and into the “Even Grandmothers like to have fun” world. Imagine what they could do to a leggy 12 year old who really, really loves these shoes.

In a moment of weakness, I once told her that when the shoes fit her feet, I’d give them to her. I meant it and I also thought she’d be around 17 years old when that happened. I mean, how fast do a little girl’s feet grow? The answer: a lot faster than I thought.

She’s almost there, ready to take on the world in my favorite naughty shoes. And she’s not yet a teenager. My dilemma is this: if I give my word, I keep my word. I just don’t want to give away my red shoes.

I’m thinking of offering her a lend/lease or joint custody agreement. She can wear the shoes until she outgrows them, then I get them back. Or perhaps she can wear them around my house or hers, but not in public until she’s 18. She can wear them in public, but not to church. Ever.

I had hoped that she would forget the shoes, but the other night at dinner, she mentioned that she was one-half a shoe size away from owning my red shoes. I shuffled in my seat and told her that she’d have to come over soon and try them on. As a prelude (or maybe distraction? Or peace offering?) I gave her my red leather cowgirl boots, hoping that would satisfy her. I even told her the boots were special because my mother bought them for me in a Houston boot store, so I knew they were authentic. She wasn’t impressed.

So, the day will come when I wrap up my shoes and hand them over to the family fashionista. I’ll take comfort knowing that they will be in good hands, or feet, if you will. And from now on, whenever Amelia admires something of mine, I’ll keep my big mouth shut.

By Laura Claverie

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