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A Lesson in School Shoes

Let me tell you a story about school shoes. I am not a big fan of them. I think they are often pretty ugly if I’m honest. However, I don’t underestimate the significance of a first pair of school shoes!

Personally, I didn’t have a uniform, but I do remember most of the shoes from my childhood. So, with this in mind I wanted my firstborn to have a really special pair! I had seen a beautiful pair on Instagram. They were a little more than I would normally spend but I rarely splash out and, on this occasion, I felt it was worth it. Produced by a brand, Young Soles, who I had met at a trade fair. They are also a couple with kids, just like us, living their dream by running their own shoe business. This made the shoes even more appealing to me. I searched for a local stockist and found a shop in a small town outside of Nottingham, about an hour’s drive away, not really local but these shoes were worth the journey! We decided to make an afternoon of it, but I made one fatal mistake before setting off…I showed Layla a picture.

Since the age of about 2 Layla has tried to assert her independence by disagreeing with me about fashion. I have had to detach myself a little from how she dresses but I couldn’t do it with these shoes. I showed her the photo and she said she didn’t like them, I snapped back, “why not”?! She began to cry. Of course, I didn’t want her to have them so much that I was prepared to make her sad, so I said she could choose whichever pair she liked but I couldn’t imagine there would be anything nicer than my choice. I didn’t realise that ANYTHING that wasn’t my choice would be deemed better.

So, we went to the shop, Little Herbert. It is a fantastic shop with loads of nice brands.  I went straight for my choice, which the lovely shop owner, got out and fitted to Layla’s feet. Layla had other ideas. She refused to walk up and down and made it clear that these weren’t the shoes for her, so we gave up and let her choose. Don’t get me wrong, her final choice was fine, but they just weren’t as special.

Yesterday was her first day at school. I’ll be honest I was surprised at how emotional and anxious I was about it. I had read all about the tearful farewells and thought, what was all the fuss about? I was looking forward to getting her off and getting more time for my work. But I was caught off guard. I was worried and sad and really didn’t want to leave her. She looked so little in her big school uniform but also so brave. I felt proud and sad all at once. I was obsessed about whether she would eat her school dinner (sausage and mash … a crowd pleaser!) I busied myself all day, trying not to think too much. I crammed my bag full of snacks that she liked for collection and arrived way too early so that I was one of the first there.

Well I shouldn’t have worried. She came out cheerful. But do you know what she said? She said that her best friend had got nicer shoes than her! It’s as if she knows exactly what to say to wind me up! I suspect this will be a battle we will have for years to come!

** Layla’s school shoes are by Froddo and I really do like them, I promise!

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