Baby Shower
by Holly Varni
April 21, 2022

I attended a baby shower yesterday where the unborn child was gifted more pairs of shoes than I currently possess in my closet. As the shoes were being passed around to be admired, I held one tiny pair of sneakers in my hand, staring at the remarkable craftsmanship. The shoe looked like it was made for a doll. From toe to heel, it was no longer than the palm of my hand. I wondered, “Why does a baby need running shoes when she can’t even walk?”

It wasn’t just sneakers. This baby girl, who has yet to make an appearance, is the owner of dress shoes in a rainbow of colors that are each intended to go with a matching dress. One pair of shoes for one specific outfit. Unheard of in my time.

I was told the miniature hiking boots were designer and would look adorable with jeans and a flannel shirt when it got chilly. Someone even thought to give a pair of red cowboy boots when the baby apparently wants to kick it up a notch.

My generation started life barefoot. We remained barefoot until we could stand without wobbling and walk off. Our mothers were thankful to receive knitted booties. A well-dressed baby was one with both socks and booties that hadn’t been lost from wiggling toes and kicking feet.

Yes, it was a simpler time than today, but starting out life with a closet full of shoes got me thinking . . . maybe this baby needs to grow up with the sight of all those shoes to remind her of the choices she has. Perhaps it will be a visual reminder of the possibilities she can choose in life, love, and career. For me and all the girls who grew up with only one pair of shoes, where we dreamed of more but were given less, we lift up these babies up and pour out blessings upon them. The work, sacrifice, and struggle from the girls of yesterday has given the girls of today choices of the shoes they want to fill. There is no limit to the path they wish to trailblaze and the shoes they wear to do it.  

As a little pair of black patent-leather shoes was placed on my lap, I cupped them in my hands and said a silent prayer for the feet that would fill them. I hope she walks with strength and confidence and enjoys many pairs of shoes throughout her life.