There are dad jokes, dad quotes, dad rules and in our house, there are dad shoes. It’s a running joke that the Carpenter’s running shoes are the ugliest shoes on the planet. This is because he insists on wearing white sneakers with white soles, or as our teenage son refers to them, nurse shoes.
My husband is stuck in a time-warp of fashion footwear and we will never let him forget it. We are not talking about cool kicks like Nike, with the colourful Swoosh on the side, or the iconic three stripes of Adidas. Nope. Think Reebok circa 1985. Plain, flat white leather shoes with white laces and soles that naturally conjure up a time when nurses wore white dresses, white stockings and shoes to match.
Considering my husband’s wardrobe is predominately fluorescent orange t-shirts with reflective safety stripes, ripped jeans and work boots, (which works for me), I have no qualms admitting that I didn’t seek the Carpenter out for his fashion sense. I knew who I was marrying. But in our house, where sarcasm is a sport, everyone has their Achilles heel, and in my man’s case, it’s tucked into his choice of casual white shoes.
He wears these shoes until they literally fall apart. Last weekend the Carpenter was quite proud to show me the rip that exposed one side of his foot and the toes of the other. So basically, these shoes were floppy sandals. Idiot. Oh boy, he was proud. There was a Swoosh on them alright, the mark of freshly cut green grass. If I didn’t fix this issue fast, those shoes would be wrapped in duct tape so they could go the distance. (I just gave him an idea for duct tape sandals. Pray for me.)
I should also mention the Carpenter will not shop for shoes because he would have to try them on. He swears he is one size. That’s it. If manufacturers can’t stick to the size chart, he won’t wear their stupid white shoes. (I know I said I knew what I was getting when I married him, but I assumed he would evolve. Cute, right?)
As luck would have it, a recent flyer appeared in this very newspaper featuring a shoe sale. I offered to purchase the Carpenter new shoes. To be clear, it was a buy one, get one half off deal, so there was something in it for me. The Carpenter snatched the flyer, quickly scanned the footwear images until he found, you guessed it, plain white sneakers. These ones, he said pointing them out, and making it very clear no other pair would be acceptable. He was happy when I arrived home with his ghastly boring shoes, in his size, and they fit perfectly. Of course they did.
This is the man I chose to be the father of my children and there is a metaphor for his parenting wrapped in the laces of those white shoes. The Carpenter is an individual in the truest sense. Self-made and secure. He works hard. His integrity is authentic. His shoes leave big footprints to fill but his stride says it all. Walk your own path. Stand tall. Lead by action. Follow only when it’s right for you. Walk away when it isn’t. And dance in the kitchen with someone you love whenever the moment strikes you. Happy Father’s Day to him and all the dads who lead by example.