I know I haven’t taken good care of you recently, but I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for all that you have done for me. As a baby, you helped me take my first steps. As a toddler, we ran and jumped together and touched sand and ocean for the first time. As a child, you helped me leap, skip, climb, twirl, and dance – you even got to wear ballet and tap shoes. As a teenager, you put on toe shoes and never once complained. You danced me through proms and walked me through several graduation ceremonies. You persevered when I had to travel from class to class on different college campuses and when I started commuting to my first job. You didn’t give up on me when I switched from an office job to a teaching job where I stood on you all day long. My fondest memory, however, is when you walked me down the aisle on my wedding day.
I know we used to have a good thing going. I’d dress you up in fun boots, different colored Converse high tops, Doc Martins, and pumps. I’d get you all pretty with smooth heels and shiny red nail polish and show you off to all my friends. Occasionally, you even wore some of my jewelry. And now, you are almost always either bare or in Crocs. You haven’t been gussied up in a long time. You have rough edges and cracked polish. You’d be embarrassed to be seen in public, yet you’re stronger than ever.
I know that our relationship began to get strained when I became pregnant with my first child. I couldn’t see you anymore and had a hard time taking care of you myself. Still, you supported me through the pregnancy, even as my body got heavier and you got swollen. Once the baby came, I paid even less attention to you… not because I wanted to, but because I had a new little one who needed me more. However, you never gave up on me. You took countless steps as I rocked, paced, and walked my baby to sleep in my arms. You came with me as I took my son on his first adventures and you were there as he took his first steps, learned to run and jump, and touched sand and ocean for the first time.
I know you thought that as my son got older, I’d have more time for you. I tried to squeeze in a pedicure a few times, but then I learned that I was expecting another child. You didn’t resent me and you showed me that by not swelling up this time around. We were very active during this pregnancy, since we had a toddler to chase after. You didn’t get to rest as much and were often very tired, yet you fought through the exhaustion and still took us on nature walks and ran around the playground. Now, you help me carry my daughter in a wrap as I push my son in the stroller for our daily walks. It is hard work and I know that by the end of the day, you’d love to be soaked and rubbed, but that doesn’t happen often. Sometimes, you’re even too tired to stand in the shower!
I am sorry if you have felt neglected. I will try very hard to schedule some bonding time soon and get you cleaned up for the summer. You have worked countless hours to get me where I am today. I am so proud of where we’ve been and thoroughly excited for where we’re going. I could say something cliché here about my children following in my footsteps, but I won’t. I will, however, once again say thank you for supporting me, taking me off the beaten path, and carrying me through this crazy ride called life.