Danny’s Heartbreak

This is Danny.

Danny is quite the character. He’s got a sense of humor. He’s very creative, and the poor boy can break your heart when he’s sad.

Several months ago, while we were in Wasilla, I bought him these shoes at Target. He absolutely loved them, and wore then constantly. The first week after we returned home, he refused to take them off, even at night. He would wear them constantly, even when he had footie pajamas on. You could not get him to take these shoes off.

These are his favorite shoes.

I didn’t mind his over-attachment to his new shoes. In fact, I thought it was cute that he was so in love with them. He always made sure to take good care of them, putting them in a safe place on the rare occasion that he wasn’t wearing them, and keeping them clean. There didn’t seem to be a problem until much later.

His feet grew.

I noticed that his shoes were getting a bit snug and were difficult to put on his feet. I did what any other parent would do. I took Danny to the store and helped him pick out a new pair in a bigger size. Of course, Maddi was super excited, but Danny sat in the cart, his lower lip trembling and tears brimming on his eyes. He wouldn’t talk to me or tell me what shoes he liked. He just hugged his too-small-but-favorite pair to his chest. I tried to explain to him that our store didn’t have those kind of shoes, but he just sobbed as though his heart was broken and the world was ending. Ultimately, I ended up picking out his new shoes.

After we bought Danny new shoes, he refused to wear them. They fit him right. They didn’t appear to be uncomfortable and they were his favorite color. Danny just wasn’t ready to accept the change and move forward in his life. He couldn’t accept the fact that he had grown, and therefore, he and his favorite shoes must part ways. We tried to hide his too-small shoes, but it was difficult to find a moment that they weren’t directly in his sight.. The few times we did manage to swipe his shoes, he realized it quickly, running around the house frantically, panicking and desperately searching for his favorite shoes.

I thought about buying him a new pair of the same shoes, but we don’t have a Target locally, and even if we did, the shoes had been on clearance when we bought them. The store wasn’t likely to still have those same shoes after this much time had passed.

No matter how many times we tried to explain to him that his shoes didn’t fit any more, he still wouldn’t wear his new ones. For weeks, he would spend nearly 15 minutes, forcing his feet into shoes that were too small for him. I told him countless times that if he wore them, his feet would hurt, but apparently the pain was worth it to him because he continued to wear them.

Yesterday, he tried to force his feet into these shoes, but for the first time, even after nearly thirty minutes of struggling, he couldn’t force his feet into his shoes. He started sobbing and trembling, visibly upset. His expression as I attempted to help him put his shoes on, mirrored that of a panicked family member, watching a loved one take their final breaths. I’m not a very emotional person on most days, but seeing my son so grief-stricken, I couldn’t help but feel myself choke up a little, watching his heart break in front of me.

I tried to explain to him that his feet were much too big for the shoes now, and that he couldn’t wear them any longer. He cried, hysterically, and ran to his room and sat in the closet, huddled against the wall, sobbing. I felt so bad for him. This poor, sweet little boy loved his shoes more than anything, and here they were, too small for him, completely useless for his much-too-large feet. All he wanted was to go back in time, to when his shoes still fit him, but try as he may, he just couldn’t make it happen.

I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me sooner, but I never thought to search for his shoes online. While he cried in his room, mourning the loss of his beloved shoes, I scoured the web, searching for his shoes in a large size and I found them. Two pairs, one was size 9, Danny’s current size, and one was size 11. I ordered the shoes immediately.

I can’t wait to give them to him. <3

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