When I was in elementary school, I was friends with a girl whose parents were living an organic and natural life long before it was popular. They practiced acupressure. They used homeopathic remedies to treat ailments. They didn't have a television. They made cookies with carob chips rather than chocolate. It was different from how I grew up, but a positive alternate view of the same world.
Through their family, I learned about composting. I learned about Tom's of Maine. I learned that playing music together (even if you're terrible at it) can be a whole lot of fun for a family. I learned about energy conservation and Warhol and lemongrass and juicers and Emergen-C... from self described former hippies living in the early 1990s in suburban Washington DC.
One day I walked into their house with a new pair of black Doc Marten steel toed shoes on. My souvenir from a family trip to England. I loved those shoes. Before even saying hello, my friend's father commented:
Those are some boss kicks.
I thought he was speaking another language. Then he explained that he was just trying to tell me that he thought my shoes were really cool. The term has always stuck with me, though I've never felt hippie enough to use it. Until now!
Luke was very excited to learn recently that he no longer needs his full foot braces. His orthopedist and his physical therapist decided that he needed less support in his shoes - and they fit him up with a pair of orthotics. The new orthotics fit in the bottom of his shoes, and there is nothing that wraps around the top of his foot.
When we picked up the orthotics, Luke tried them on and a huge smile immediately spread across his face. His former braces were designed to squeeze his foot, but despite all best efforts, they left a lot of red marks and callouses on Luke's feet. He did not like them one bit.
They feel so good, Mommy.
Then he proceeded to run around the orthotics office. The orthopedist made me promise that we would get rid of his brace-beaten shoes and get him fit with good supportive athletic shoes.
We headed down the street to our local New Balance store, where they actually still talk to you when you walk in the door and are willing to measure your feet. They measured Luke's feet and his orthotics, and pointed out a couple of shoes that would work well for him. I gravitated to the Velcro shoes, because Luke can't tie laces yet. But he got a sheepish grin on his face, and pointed to a pair of dark gray shoes with bright green accents... and laces.
The shoe salesman came back with a bright red box with a size 12.5 shoe. I could smell the new shoe smell and Luke's excitement as the salesman removed the New Balance shoe inserts and replaced them with Luke's orthotics.
The salesman patiently showed Luke three times how to tie his laces. He gave it a try himself. When the shoes were properly tied, Luke hopped off the seat. With a twinkle in his eye, he walked around the shoe store. I was surprised that he didn't trip on something - he was more interested in watching his new flashy shoes than keeping an eye out for errant shoe size measurers.
These are fast shoes, Mommy.
He was so proud! I looked at his feet as he jogged proudly around the store - his victory lap. I looked for some discernible limp... a dropped foot or a turned in ankle that would indicate that Luke's feet weren't ready for the jump to orthotics and that I would have to be the one to tell him that he had to go back to his painful braces. But there was no limp. He was walking deliberately. Feet up, straight, no dragging. I couldn't help but smile. And finally, the opportunity I've been waiting for since the summer of 1993...
Those are some boss kicks, buddy.
He looked at me like I was speaking another language. And so the cycle continues.