I have this wonderful pair of black boots. They’re big and mean. They’re comfortable and tough. They’re Doc Martens. And I love them.
A few weeks ago, the weather turned cool and it was time to retrieve my boots from the wardrobe where they’d been hiding all summer. I smiled. I was looking forward to pulling on my shiny Doc Martens, sniffing that beautiful leather smell, wriggling my toes…
I grabbed a boot and thrust in my foot. I took hold of the zipper and yanked it up, but… the zipper got stuck before it reached the top.
“Either this boot has shrunk or my leg has got fat.” I was alarmed. “This boot is much tighter than it was the last time I wore it.”
“It’s all those muscles in your legs, Mum,” consoled Callum. “You’ve done so much exercise since last winter. You've got runners’ legs.”
I thought about it. Muscles? Runners’ legs? Doesn’t that sound much nicer than fat legs?
“But what am I going to do? My favourite boots are far too tight,” I wailed.
“Tell your leg to breathe in.” I pulled a face at this silly idea.
“They might stretch just by wearing them,” suggested Andy.
“I know!” cried Callum. “You should soak the leather in water and then wear the boots. That will really stretch them.”
“I’m not wearing cold wet boots in the middle of winter!” I protested.
“Do you remember when we were younger and everyone used to put on their jeans and then sit in a really hot bath?” asked Andy.
“That was to shrink them, not stretch them. I don’t think wearing my boots in the bath will help at all.”
“What about stuffing something inside the boots?”
“Does the shoe repairer have some kind of machine for stretching leather?”
Everyone had a suggestion.
As I wanted to wear the boots straight away, I decided to wear them with the zippers at their not-quite-at-the-top position. It didn’t really matter. No one would notice. I was wearing a long skirt.
A few days later, the solution to my boot problem suddenly shot into my head. It was a real light bulb moment. The answer was obvious… so obvious that I suddenly felt very foolish.
I looked at my boots. They have zippers up the sides. I use them to get my boots off and on. But…
I didn’t need to soak my boots in water, or stuff something inside them. I didn’t have to take them to a repairer with a stretching machine or tell my legs to breathe in. I didn’t have to wear them with the zippers at a low tide position. I didn’t even have to give up running. All I had to do was loosen the laces... the laces that run down the fronts of the boots.
Why didn't I think of that sooner? I am sitting here still feeling very silly.
"Hey! I solved my too-tight-boots problem," I announce to my family.
"I just loosened the laces!"
"Why didn't we think of that?"
Yes. Why didn't they?
A friend asks me, "How's the homeschooling going?"
"Oh great! I'm not stuffing my children's heads full of facts. I'm teaching them how to think!"
I don't tell her my fat legged mother story. I don't think I'll tell anyone. I wouldn't want everyone to think that I can't think. It's the kind of story best kept to oneself... don't you think?