When I look at Rissa now, I can't remember her as a toddler. Even when I see photos of her from that time, it's like I'm looking at somebody else's kid. I know that she was this small elfin child,
but that child bears next to no resemblance to the tall, poised 14 year old, who looks 18 without makeup and about 25 with it.
We're out shopping for her Grade 8 Grad shoes. MY CHILD IS GOING INTO HIGH SCHOOL IN THE FALL!!! She wants something sparkly - silver and sparkly. Our small town doesn't really cater to the silver and sparkly set. We have to go to a higher populated town to get a good mall. So there she is, finally in Le Chateau (oh, the irony because our mall does have a Le Chateau), having already exhausted every other shoe store in the mall - three shoe boxes in front of her.
The first she tries are platformy. She becomes a leggy giantess in these shoes. My stomach plummets. NOT THOSE! PLEASE NOT THOSE!! SHE LOOKS TOO OLD IN THOSE! SHE LOOKS TOO SEXY IN THOSE! BOYS WILL WANT TO INSERT PARTS OF THEIR BODIES INTO HER BODY IF SHE WEARS THOSE!!!
She takes one step, before turning to me. "Nuh-unh... NOT these. Nope. I'd be breaking my ankles after the first step." She attempts another step. "Whoa... WHOOOOOOAAAAA!" She's walking on an invisible tightrope, her steps tentative. Just as I'm thinking that, she pretends she's on a tightrope and fakes a trumpet version of a circus theme.
"So not those?" I take them from her, all nonchalant. Thank Christ. I hand her the next pair. Ballroom style shoes studded in rhinestones. My stomach calms a bit. These ones aren't as sexy. I could pretend she was on Dancing With the Stars if she wore these.
She slips the second pair on. "Ooooooh... I like these!" She takes a few steps - does her best imitation of a runway model. Shoots me an over-the-shoulder glance and then makes a goofy face.
"These're pretty good."
Next pair. 1950s style peep-toe with a slightly thicker heel - MY 14 YEAR OLD IS TRYING ON A FRICKIN' PEEP TOE!! Then I remember that in grade 5, my mom let me buy high heeled blue satin running shoes... In Grade 5... Because I wanted them. Deep calm breaths...
"These feel really good, I feel more steady in these, but my toes show."
"What's the matter with your toes?'
"You have beautiful toes."
"You do! I love your toes! Walk in the shoes. Walk back and forth a bit."
She walks a bit in the new pair. Every time she turns away from me - it's like there's a strange woman in the store in front of me. Then she turns and makes a face and I'm okay again. Until she comes back to me, slings an arm around my shoulder and towers. She's 5' 7" without the heels - so at least 5' 10" with them. I'm just shy of 5' 6".
"I'm not," she says... gloatingly.
"So which ones? Ballroom shoes or 1950s shoes?"
She's chewing on the inside of her cheek. "I can't decide."
"Put one from each pair on either foot and walk around some more." She does. Depending on which foot is hitting the ground, she has a completely different facial expression. "Dance a bit." She does a ridiculous cha-cha, but with a big jazz hands finish at the end.
"1950s" she says. But then almost immediately, "Which ones do you like?"
"I like both of them. You pick which one you like."
"But if you were buying them for you, which ones would you buy?"
"The dancy ones - but I'm not buying them for me, I'm buying them for you."
"1950s!" she now says decisively.
"You're going to have to practice walking in them before Grad," I say. "You know, like around the house.