Think back to when you were a kid. Say, 6 years old. Ish. How did you spend your summers? Barefoot and dirty as a street urchin, most likely. I wouldn’t wear shoes from June until August. I swear. Even when I got older and was allowed walk to the store with my friends, I always walked barefoot and carried my sandals. Dr. Scholl’s…HOLLA! I think I had the red ones. They were so cool! Anyway, kids these days hardly ever go barefoot. At least the ones in my neighborhood, and the ones that Jack hangs out with. Well some do, but seriously not all the time like we used to.
Kids have shoes for walking, running, soccer, baseball, swimming, going to the beach, even for tae kwon do, which is a barefoot martial art! For Pete’s sake. Sometimes I never see Jack’s feet except when he takes a bath. They are lily white and perfect. All the dirt and bruises start at the ankle level and work their way up. Tell me I’m wrong! Do it! They’re all tenderfooted I tell you!
Jack took his shoes off in the car one day to air out his feet. Because they smell like roses of course. Ever smell a small kid’s little sweaty hooves? They smell exactly like lizards.
me: Okay, we’re home! (I grab Jack’s shoes and socks and hop out of the car)
Jack: (looks surprised) Ummmm, Mom, what am I supposed to do?
me: (lugging bags and water bottles and his shoes, I start heading up the stairs in the garage) Come on, hop out…
Jack: But I’m BAREFOOT!
me: Yeah, and?? Come on.
Jack: I can’t walk like this!!! Can you get me my crocs??
me: For Pete’s sake Jack, it’s like 10 steps to the door. Walk barefoot!
Jack: But the floor is dirty!
me: You’re taking a bath anyway…let’s go please…
Jack: (tentatively opens the car door and puts a toe on the ground) Carry me!
me: Sheesh Jack, I am not carrying you, look at what I’m holding. I don’t think I can handle another 50 pounds here…
Jack: Ohhhhh…(he starts walking on tip-toes) It’s all cold!
me: It’s cement. You’re not going to melt. That’s what your feet are for you know. Walking?
Jack: Yeah walking in my Nikes, that’s what they’re for!!
I’m hiding all his shoes once school gets out and I’ll see what he does. Maybe I’ll say he can’t go out and play unless he’s barefoot. But kids these days worry about mosquitoes, ticks, poison ivy, dirty mulch, glass, sharp sticks, etc etc. Kids “in my day” (dear God I said it) didn’t worry about anything. If we got glass in our foot, it was like a trophy to show the world! We were christened. And, we never ever washed the cut out with antibacterial soap, and we never doused it with Neosporin and certainly never covered it with a waterproof bandage, even if it was bleeding profusely. Nope. Our DNA was out there for the world to share.