The Shoemaker

It started last week. Appropos of nothing (nothing I knew of, anyway) Annabelle came home from camp with a Magic Markered diagram, depicting instructions for making shoes.

The next morning, I couldn’t budge her away from the dining room table, she was so engrossed in typing paper, scissors and tape. By the time we finally left the house, she’d created two prototypes of slip-ons — and pretty good designs.

Often, these fancies end as quickly as they began. But some last, like the burning desire Annabelle had in kindergarten to write her own play. The amazing Ms. X actually made that one happen; “The Four Fairies Wish” may not ever make it to Broadway, but after its debut at Annabelle’s school, a fourth grade teacher friend of mine actually had her own kids perform it. Pretty cool.

So I wasn’t entirely surprised, a full week later, when Annabelle asked for materials to make more shoes. This time she ruined a pair of pale pink tights (I think they were too small, and anyhow, it’s a minor investment in the name of art).

She asked for scissors, a hole punch and ribbon, then when she couldn’t maneuver them herself (mainly because the scissors are too dull and the hole punch a dud) walked me through much of it: cutting the bottoms of the tights off, halfway down the leg, making five holes around the edges of the tops of the tight bottoms.

She strung the ribbon through the tights and voila! Shoes were born.

She put them on, asked me to tie them, and carefully slipped on the anklet she’s been wearing non-stop for weeks, since my mother in law gave it to her (actually, I think it’s a too-big bracelet) for her birthday.

Then, like any good designer, she struck several poses and planned the next step.

“Do you think this weekend, Daddy will take me to the hardware store so I can buy some wood to make heels?” she asked.

“Sure. Why not?”

She danced around the living room and squealed, “I can’t wait for school to start!”

And then Annabelle paused, thoughtful.

“I’m not sure I should wear my new shoes to school. High heels might not be appropriate.”

Long pause.

“Plus, these might be too slippery for school.”

Happy shrug. With that, she was off to brush teeth, leaving her shoes where everyone in our house leaves shoes: in a pile in the middle of the floor.

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