When I pulled onto the Portland Children Museum's parking lot today, I couldn't help but notice that one of my three children was shoeless. My middle child has developed a habit of walking out of the house shoeless and today, I forgot to take his shoes for him. After making a thirty five minute drive to the place, I was not going to turn around back home. So I placed him in his brother's $4 umbrella stroller (garage sale prices rock, y'all) and off we went in. I guess I was hoping that the museum has previously welcomed parents like myself and perhaps either sold or offered to borrow at least the socks. The lady at the counter probably had manners because she did not laugh or sound surprised at my request, she told me that though they did not have any feet coverings to offer me, they did sell t-shirts! No, thank you. T-shirts we have not left home without. Yet.
As my child was roaming the place barefoot, I couldn't help but think of all the germs the floors at public places such as these have. Where did the people who just walked by come from? A farm, a doggy park, a bathroom? I cringed at these thoughts. So, I approached another employee and begged her to dig around to see if they perhaps do have a spare pair of shoes somewhere.
She came back a few minutes later with a lime green pair of Crocs. My excitement diminished quickly as I saw that they were women's size 8.
"I found these at our dress up place. It is all I have, take it or leave it", she said. "They are allowed to be here without socks, but if you insist they have shoes on, these are your best bet."
Thankfully, my sweet niece who is spending this week with us offered to give up her shoes in exchange for those and gave hers to my daughter who gave her pink and white polka dot flip flops to my son.
As I was watching them play, giggle and run from one exhibit to another with their shoes catching up to them, I knew that the inconvenience was all mine. Children don't spend their time speculating "What will people say" question. They just do whatever is comfortable, engaging, curious. They take risks, learn, and grow. I wish adults had the same mindset. How many times do we choose not to do something only because we worry about our image or reputation or consequences. Though it is wise to discriminate and filter our urges, doing things just to please other people is a frivolous act. People will always find reasons to talk, judge and put down even if you left the house looking and feeling like a superstar.
I think that over the years, I have become better at worrying less about people's opinions and focusing more on what God thinks of me. I am ashamed to admit of the things I used to say and do just to prevent bad opinions or gossips. What a waste of time. But that's another topic for another day.