Saturday Story Time: It’s the light up things

20111001-113207.jpgWe were on a mission to buy John and Christian’s first pair of sneakers. With a steady diet, they were growing like weeds. We started at a sporting goods store thinking they would want to have shoes like their brother, Isaac. John, was easy to please and made his decision fairly quickly. Christian was a bit more picky. The Liberian English was difficult to understand, and he was really shy, but we kept trying different shoes. He would walk around in them but we could tell this was not what he really wanted. Christian, though tough to understand with words had body, and facial expressions that communicated loud and clear. We knew he wanted something, but we did not know what.

We left the store with a pair of shoes and a big smiling John, but a clearly upset Christian. We slipped into the Payless shoe store with a heavy heart. We wanted so much to be able to give him what he wanted. This beautiful boy who had been through so much. Christian was either happy, off the walls excited, or he looked like the world would end. His beautiful brown eyes and gorgeous dark ebony skin, had my heart from the moment I saw him that first day, in Liberia. He put his small hand in mine, as we walked up and down the isles of shoes to his size. A solitary tear, stained his cheek.

I started pulling out boxes of shoes, trying to find the one that would make him smile. I placed a box at his feet and turned to grab another, when he jumped up and started dancing. I had pulled out a pair of light up shoes. You know the ones I am talking about, they had lights around the sole of the shoe, and when you walked they would light up. You would have thought this kid had won the lottery, and maybe he did. I could barely keep him still enough to get them on his feet. The transformation from despair to joy, of this four year old, was incredible.

He ran, giggled, danced and hugged me while stopping and starting again, to get his shoes to light up. The day the boys arrived at the airport, Jessie had on pink light up shoes. She met her brothers for the first time, and Christian made Jessie take her shoe off so he could check it out. You would think I might have clued into his fascination. Now with the shoes firmly tied to his feet, he galloped out the door to show off.

Christian still loves new shoes. It may be, that since he did not have any till he was in the USA, they became an icon of his new life. As he gets older, and the shoes for all the different sports load up his room, his delight with a new pair, is still a wonder to me. He has often slept with his new shoes like a stuffed animal. It makes me giggle every time I think about it.

Their have been many firsts for these two boys, many times I have had to step back and take the moment in. I like to imprint these images in my heart. I thank God I was there the day Christian got his first pair of light up shoes. Nothing could have been brighter than his smile. No swagger bigger than his, that day. Some people say it’s the little things. I say it is the light up things.




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