She’d seen the advertisement in the newspaper, For sale: Baby shoes, never worn, and it had torn at her heart. Expecting herself, it was a tragedy in so few words that hit far too close to home.
It kept her up at night, made her pace the house during the day with far more a first time mother’s usual anxiety. Now, in addition to her own worries, she had the sorrows of an unknown woman as well.
Dread and fear followed her, the mystery of the tragic woman too much.
She got a pen and paper, double-checked the address and wrote to the woman, thinking that maybe the connection would put her at ease.
It felt voyeuristic peering into the woman’s sorrow, but she had put it in the pennysaver for all to see.
Perhaps it was a way of reaching out and finding solace, to find another woman to pass the hope that she’d lost to.
Writing that she was expecting wasn’t too much, for that was the only reason someone would need baby shoes.
The reply came, just when she figured that it wouldn’t, that someone else had bought the shoes, or that the woman had not to give away that last little keepsake.
It was a carefully wrapped package, the shoes inside, darling little things, so small and perfect, and the letter contained inside was touching.
I looked at you letter and I looked at the shoes and I hope that you enjoy them. In the end I couldn’t ask for money.
It was sweet and touching and it filled her heart with joy thinking that she had helped lift this poor woman’s spirits.
It was only later, when her own little one was big enough for the shoes to fit, that she saw the hint of humor in the letter.
Putting shoes on a struggling baby, who thought it was all a game was a monumental task when there were so many other things that needed to be done. Especially if they didn’t want to wear the shoes.
Finding them under the furniture, flung across the room with force that should have been impossible for such a small baby.
In the end if the shoes were worn, it wasn’t for more than a few moments at a stretch, which raised an important question: Did babies need shoes?
Such a small pair certainly wouldn’t last until the child’s first steps and while they were cute, putting them on was such a fuss. Besides, it wasn’t as though many people would get to see them, when babies were best kept properly swaddled when out in their stroller. Unwrapping them just to show off a pair of adorable shoes that would be kicked off the moment they were revealed and then carried the rest of the way home in her purse lost its novelty after the second time.
And so the advertisement once again went out in the pennysaver, albeit with a slight change.
Free: Baby shoes never worn.