Guest post #1 is written by the amazing woman who brought me into this world: my mom! 

Gene? or Virus? 

Molly asked me to do a guest spot on her blog while she is dancing her feet off in Las Vegas. There are many tangents I can go off on about my daughter, but I suppose writing about the obvious is the way to go. 

So, OK, I knew we had some shoe-aholism in the family. 

Aunt L was the Imelda Marcos of the bunch, with multiple pairs. When we would visit her, Molly would make a bee-line for her closet, just to look. Since she was related by marriage and not blood, I wondered if attaining this shoe-interest from a non-blood-relative could be viral in nature.

At a very young age, Molly had an affinity for shoes.  She used to try on my black slouchy suede boots and stand around in front of the mirror posing – they were mid-calf on me but practically hip-waders on her.  I couldn’t let her walk around in them because the heels were so high she would probably either break an ankle or fall down the stairs. So she would just pose.

I would find my shoes worn and discarded all over the house.  She was distraught because she wanted the peach colored toe shoes but they only had the baby pink in her size; was adamant about getting the red high-top sneakers with Tweetie Bird on them.

OK, a lot of this is normal kid stuff.  But upon visiting Aunt N (direct bloodline) one summer, we discovered not only did N have quite the selection, but they were neatly kept in their original boxes at the top shelf of the closet – laid out as if in a shoe store.  Rather impressive, if not perhaps a bit compulsive. Molly zeroed right in on that with an alert fascination. At that point it crossed my mind she possibly had inherited the shoe gene instead of contracting the viral version.  Aunt N possessed an eclectic mix of fun, comfort and flirty style, but Molly found them staid compared to those of Aunt S.

Aunt S –  the queen of “the cute little shoe“.  She is the one in the adorable, sexy designer heels at astronomical prices.  “What do you think of this cute little shoe?” or, “OMG, I just had to buy this adorable pair of cute little shoes!”, or “Oh, it’s nothing, just a cute little shoe I found on sale”.

Aunt S’s cute little shoes are not known for their comfort but they range from the bizarre to the beautiful. Butter-soft calfskin stiletto boots.  Tawny open-toed sling-backs with leopard print heels. Delicate numbers with twisted satin tops. Bejeweled pumps.   Periodically she would decide she was changing her image (“This is no longer me”), tire of them, and the cast-offs would arrive piled in an upscale shopping bag.  Everyone coveted them and would eagerly dig through the bag, only to be disappointed as they were always about a half size too small or an inch too high and no one could tolerate the pain of wearing them for even a few minutes.

*  Parental Warning (it’s my duty) – As an aside I will note that Aunt S has done a number on her feet from years of cute little shoes and can now only wear “comfortable” shoes (see “Mom”, below).

Finally, we come to the direct blood-line, the Mom.  I am one who, for the most part, prefers to be barefoot and will wobble and fall off a pair of even the lowest of skinny heels. I didn’t care about these things – but acknowledgement of the recessive shoe-gene hit me in middle age, when I suddenly discovered while moving and packing that I had years of shoes I could not part with.  Where did they all come from? Freakier to discover many of these shoes were different variations on the Mary Jane. And there was an inordinate number of red shoes, or the same shoe style in different colors. I also have a thing for cowboy boots, if they fit right.  Ultimately, they all have one defining criteria – they need to be comfortable.  Molly rarely is interested in my shoes now (“I wouldn’t wear them but they look cute on you…”).  She finds almost all of them boring and incredibly pedestrian –  flats and Birkenstocks  – referred to with disdain as “Air-Jesus” sandals by Uncle P (who is married to Aunt L and has learned to live with this affliction).

I suppose having a shoe-thing is not so bad, if one can keep it under control.  I thought Molly showed remarkable restraint the last time we shoe-shopped together, which was a surprisingly fun experience.  I have to say there was something fascinating about watching her navigate the discount shoe aisles and hone in like a heat-seeking missile on the perfect pair, and then try to show restraint (would she have bought them if I wasn’t there?).  She accused me of making “that face” when she showed me some of the things she liked.  She doesn’t realize it, but she makes “that face” too.  Funny thing, genetics…

Wearing (she doesn’t like these):