it probably helps that my feet haven’t grown since seventh grade. i started wearing a size 6 in seventh grade and that was it for me. due to that, it’s helped me keep some shoes around for a very, very long time. my oldest pair of shoes i bought my junior year of high school and still love today. a pair of black heels to be worn to parties and with fancy dresses, they feature an ankle strap made of rhinestones, tied in the back with a satin bow. they appeal to me today as much as they did at 16. i’ve gone through many changes in my life, and expect more ahead, but my taste in shoes appears to be pretty consistent. while i’ve worn these shoes many times, my favorite memory of them is when I was 18, the summer after my freshmen year of college, when i attended a wedding in dc. i had been to a couple of weddings before that, but this was my first as an “adult” (a term to be used loosely with an 18-year-old), but i think you know what i mean. i took notice of all the details, felt the couple’s excitement, enjoyed every minute of that magical night. and magical it was, as the wedding took place on top of the hayes-adams hotel in Washington, overlooking the white house. as the bride and groom said their vows, the sun started to set over the city and i had to pinch myself – it was just perfection. the city, the night, the party – it’s all surrounded by twinkling white lights and clinks of champagne glasses in my mind. and those fabulous, glamorous shoes adorning my feet. at 18, magical is exactly what that night was.
a few years after the wedding, the bride was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. her husband filed for divorce shortly after, simply stating that he didn’t sign up for that. i take it he didn’t quite comprehend the part of the vows where you state your loyalty and fidelity “in sickness and in health”. to say he turned out to be a cad is an understatement. because after all that magic, all those views, all the champagne and beautiful shoes, what we really have in life is each other. what we really need to put stock in is one another. our relationships are the beginning and the end of all our happiness. the other things, while nice to have, will always come in second. as coco chanel once said,
“the best things in life are free. the second-best, are very expensive”.
that quote always makes me chuckle – it’s so true, yet a good reminder that if we only live a life with the best things, and not the very expensive ones, we’ll have lived well.
when my grandmother talked to my mom this past sunday, she let her know she had bought a few pairs of shoes for my wedding. her feet, in old age, were now different sizes, and she wanted to play around with a few pairs to see what fit best. when my mom told me this, i’d be lying if i said it didn’t make me cry, but i’d also be lying if i said it didn’t make me laugh, too. a shoe-lover to the end, it’s not hard to see where i get it from. but it was our upcoming wedding, and her family, and the life she built and the lives she helped grow that allowed her that fun moment, that gave her the opportunity at 90 years old to still be enjoying the second-best things in life. it seemed she learned long ago that the best things in life are the ones you give your all to, the ones you put your stock in, and the second-best are the cherry on top. she lived well, surrounded by the best life has to offer, and that is as much as any of us can ask for.