Bonding over shoes: a tale of Orientation day

Bonding over shoes

We went shopping on the weekend. It was a crazy thing to do; Christmas trees are already up, light strung from every possible surface and that weird metallic smell of tinsel is already in the air. If I wasn’t looking at my calendar as I type, I would swear we’ve jumped a whole month and it’s actually the mid-December and not mid-November.

Regardless of my bar humbug attitude, it seems like no one else cares, because the shops were insane. It seems that everyone missed the memo that it’s not actually a week from Christmas and they’re pouring into the shops. We got a car-park easily enough, but that just lulled me into a false sense of security.

We hit the shops. Poss had Orientation day for Grade Five. She wanted needed a new outfit.

We pushed on past the blue platform Yves St Laurent shoes she picked up in David Jones, much to her disappointment. However it seemed to bring much relief to the poor shop assistant who seemed puzzled as to why a child Poss’ age would require such shoes, despite her demands to be bought her size.

Landing in Seed, we perused the tween section. The mecca of all things sequin and midriff. Her eyes were drawn to a pair of silver, leopard print sneakers, right at the same time as another girl. The two got chatting, seems they shared the same size, and in the way that only girls can, they bonded over a pair of shoes.

Talking with the mum, it turns out they were also shopping for orientation day. At the same school. A year below Poss, but the same age. A new family.

The girls looked at each other shyly. Now they weren’t just two girls crushing on the same sneakers, they were going to be school mates.

Poss has never coped well with orientation days, too much new, too much change, I knew the anxiety was running high. We’d heard about it all week. But instead of freaking out, she asked for the little girls phone number and then proceeded to list all the teachers, the best places to play and which classes were her favourite.

The relief in my face must have been visible. The other mother looked rather overwhelmed and slightly apprehensive. As you would if you happen to find a new friend in Seed, when all you were looking for was sneakers.

We made awkward conversation, and I reassured her more times than was probably necessary how happy we were at the new school. She asked me why we’d moved, and I still don’t have a pre-prepared one liner about that.

As I watched the two little blond heads discussing the merits of the sparkle t-shirt with the lips vs the one with the neon pony on it, I’m not sure I gave her a good enough explanation of the reasons we’ve been so happy, or not one that would have meant much to her anyway. But there you go. Sometimes these things are hard to put into words.

Poss came home smiling today. She had made sure she introduced the girl from Seed to her friends. She showed her around and then texted her tonight to make sure she had had a good day.

I remember back to this time last year. I could have been that nervous mother in Seed, in fact I think I was. Looking for shoes and hoping my daughter would enjoy her first day. Praying they would look after her. That she’d be happy.

I needn’t have worried. When she came home that first night, she was brimming with tales of the the little girls who made her feel like one of them. Made her feel like she belonged. I wondered who these considerate, friendly girls were? Surely this wouldn’t last? But it has.

And it seems, even if it’s just for today, I’m a parent to one of them. And I couldn’t be prouder.

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  1. That is awesome, looking after the new kids was always my fave thing…. meant I wasn’t the new kid an more!
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  2. Renee that is such a heart warming story. And funny for me because I spent about an HOUR in seed with my son on Sunday. He played with the toys and tried on caps and I tried on clothes. We were probably there at the same time.

    Nothing makes me happier than when my kids are happy. So I totally get how lovely it must have felt to see poss the big girl, happy and helping another little settle in. So proud. x

  3. Oh, this has filled me with so much hope Renée! Kinder next year… xx
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