I know exactly how long I’ve owned my burgundy clogs. I know because for several weeks they remained in their shipping box because I couldn’t wear them. My feet were too swollen to fit into them.
But the swollen-ness was just a side note. I wasn’t able to walk when those clogs arrived at my doorstep so I didn’t really need shoes at the time.
It was July 2010; the period of time I was hospitalized with a swollen left calf. For the month of July, I relied on a walker and wheelchair to get around so when I did wear anything on my feet it was usually house slippers.
The last time my feet were swollen was after the birth of my son. No one had prepared me for the swollen ankles and swollen feet I would experience in those first few days after Ryan’s birth. I remember taking Ryan to the pediatrician for his first check-up and struggling to find shoes that would fit. At that time, I knew it was temporary; yet it blindsided me. With all my planning for the early days of motherhood, I knew I might experience difficulty with clothes, but shoes were a surprise.
With the clogs, I felt broad-sided. This mystery illness and subsequent hospitalization was a complete shock. The clogs sat in their box, near my desk downstairs, taunting me.
I spent most of my days downstairs that month. Once I awoke, I dressed, and slid on my tush, one stair at a time, until my husband could help me up. From there, I took up residence on our couch. I didn’t go back upstairs until evening, and when I did, that’s where I stayed. I had no freedom to move about our own home. I couldn’t play with our son. I couldn’t fix meals. I couldn’t do much of anything except cry and wonder and feel guilty that somehow I had brought this misery on myself.
Leading up until those fateful July days, I felt that I was being pushed to my limits. The school year had recently ended. I was a full-time working mother. My husband and I were going through a very difficult time in our marriage. And I knew that I was on the verge of boiling over and collapsing. Except, I didn’t do anything about it. I didn’t try to right any of the wrongs in my life; I just kept plowing ahead. Until I finally woke up one morning, unable to walk. I didn’t stop until my body stopped.
Those clogs were supposed to be my “fun” clogs. Their color wasn’t the practical black I already owned. They were more distinctive and unique -- traits I like to think I possess as well. I couldn’t wear them, and looking back, I admit that I wasn’t having much fun in my life at that time. Everything was work -- teaching, mothering, even being married. Everything felt like work. Perhaps I wasn’t able to fit into my fun clogs until my body, and my mind, made some changes and I could start seeing fun, making fun, having fun, and wearing fun.
Life certainly isn’t always fun, but the clogs fit, and I am determined to keep wearing them as long as I can.