All her life Mom has loved high heels.
When she moved from Boulder to California in November 2003, we had to bring all her favorite shoes. The heels weren't too high any more, and we tried to make sure she didn't wear them too often, but we had to keep many of them.
Two years later, the heels were gone, replaced by a collection of elegant flat shoes and open-toed sandals.
In December, however, Mom had another mild sprain to her left ankle, the second in two years. She was told to visit a technician specializing in orthotics and braces, and he recommended shoes that lace up around the ankle and provide support.
Goodby, pretty shoes of any kind. Even SAS shoes.
Hello, old lady shoes.
We went to a special store called Foot Solutions, where Mom was fitted for solid sensible shoes that laced all the way up to the ankle, six inches deep. The only color available was black. We had to place the order and wait two weeks.
Somehow we got through the day without the word ugly being spoken.
When I went to pick up the shoes, I schemed about how to get her to accept wearing them.
First of all, we didn't wear them to the big doctor appointment yesterday.
But when we got home from it, I did put on the new shoes and lace them up tightly. Then I had her walk with her walker into the dining room.
"New shoes!" I kept repeating. "They lace up high to make sure you don't get another sprained ankle."
"But they hurt," Mom commented after successfully walking one hundred feet to the dining room.
"That's because they have to be broken in," I countered. "All new shoes have to be broken in."
And I left her for the evening.
The next morning--today--she had physical therapy at 10 am.
When I arrived, lo and behold! She was wearing the new black shoes, not the white New Balance sneakers she usually wears to her PT. I hadn't left instructions with the caregiver to try to accomplish this change, so I was surprised.
"You're wearing your new shoes!" I commented.
"I had to fight for them," Mom answered. "The girl wanted me to wear the other ones, but I told her I had to wear these."
"Oh, I see," I echoed.
The physical therapist, Michael, also commented on the new shoes.
"I had to fight for them," Mom said again. "They always want me to wear high heels."
"Oh, high heels aren't safe," he said. "You could get a broken ankle. These are much better."
"Yes, they are!" Mom said.