Undone

My middle son has this tiny pair of walking boots, impossibly cute, suitably hardy and adorned with preternaturally long laces that are always coming undone.

Putting shoes on my three small boys is – sheesh – I dread it. If my husband is around I will diligently go find the socks in our massive odd sock basket (my new way to store the endless mountain of insolently unpaired socks) but I will attempt to avoid the actual putting on of the shoes, which seems to go on forever, can involve getting kicked in the face or, worse, one of the boys lying luxuriously on the ground, foot aloft like a very short emperor, waiting to be shod.

Lately, my son’s walking boots have had me beaten down because no matter what way the laces were tied or how carefully maneuvered, within minutes they were undone again, ready to trip him up, say, at the top of the stairs, or as he was crossing the road (my brain likes to keep me on my toes with all the worst case scenarios). The top of one lace was frayed out like a dried old bunch of weeds, which, upon regular viewing, sparked a sense of hopelessness inside of me. It would never fit back in to the tiny top eyelet on his shoe, yet I knew that maybe if it did – just maybe – the laces might have a better shot at staying tied.

So I laced and laced again, every day, ten or twenty times a day, observing the frayed head, sighing when I looked at the eyelet, thinking about where to get a new pair of such laces and adding that to my list of Important Things That Need Done.

Shoes. Socks. It’s the tiny things that will derail you when you are feeling overwhelmed, as I am at the moment with the monumental task of motherhood. Straightforward things can seem insurmountable.

Then, the other day, after we’d all hurled ourselves in the door from school, I grabbed the boot from where it had been thrown in our hallway. I sat down on the bottom stair, and picked up the dried weed lace, rolling the top of it slowly between my thumb and forefinger, then threading it easily into the pinpoint eyelet. It all took less than a minute.

Briefly, I marvelled at how simple it had all been. I knew also, in that moment, how really simple everything else is too. How things can change on a dime. How all it takes is a tiny action, a small shift in perspective, and life will become just that little bit easier.

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3 thoughts on “Undone”

  1. I have…no small children and it’s ridiculous to consider the trivial rubbish that knocks me off my stride. I couldn’t leave my bed this morning while I weighed up the horror of leaving an almost-full carton of eggs here at the flat when I go to Galway for a couple of days this week. The WASTE!! No, I’m afraid I’m not very good at adulting…

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