From Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul

Mother’s Shoes

Iimplore you to see with a child’s eyes, to hear with a child’s ears, and to feel with a child’s heart.

Antonio Novello

My mind struggles to remember a time, many years ago, when I was just a child. I was four years of age, and the memory is not complete or vivid, more like a puzzle with pieces missing, a movie fast-forwarded in certain places.

It’s a cloudy, overcast day. There is a parade in town, and it’s really crowded. I’m standing next to my mother, holding her hand and trying to see the parade through all the people in front of me, but I’m so small I mostly see the backs of their legs. Realizing this, my mother pushes me gently out onto the curb to sit with my siblings. From here the view is better, though a little scary because everything looms overhead. Now the chance of being stepped on by a horse or something larger seems real.

People are laughing and clapping all around me, and everyone seems so happy.

I’m sitting on the curb, watching the clowns go by in their silly hats and red noses. I see their large funny shoes and their colorful clothes, but as much as I like them, I can’t help being afraid when one of them stoops down to hand me a balloon. I turn to look for my mother, feeling the urge to run back to her, but my older brother wraps his arm around me and soon we are giggling again.

The music from the marching band fills my head, and I am laughing with my brothers and sisters as a group of little dogs dances for us. Some boys on bikes do tricks, ringing their bells and honking their horns as they go by.

I’m very happy and excited by everything going on around me, but I find myself looking back every once in a while to where my mother stands. I can’t see her face because of all the people, but I recognize her worn, scuffed shoes. They have been in the same place since she pushed me out onto the curb. Every time something comes by that scares me, I look back for my mother’s shoes, knowing she will be there waiting for me to run and hide in her arms if I become too afraid.

It seems that all too soon the parade is over, but we are still sitting on the curb, confetti and ticker tape all around us. My sisters are excitedly talking about their favorite part of the parade, each trying to outdo the other. My older brother sits next to me, holding my hand as I lean against him. I’m getting sleepy, and I want to go home. I turn to look for my mother’s shoes, but this time they aren’t where they were before. Afraid, I cry out and feel my brother squeeze my hand.

Mira,” he whispers, pointing the other way.

I turn to see my mother standing there, smiling at us. She looks so beautiful. She’s holding a box, and from it comes the sound of peeps and scratching. She lowers the box so we can look into it, and baby chicks look up at us.

Each of them is dyed a bright pink, green or yellow. There are five chicks in all, one for each of us.

“Feliz Día de Pascuas,” my mother says.

We all jump up and down, clapping our hands and laughing because we are so happy.

We sit on the curb playing with the baby chicks for a while and coming up with names for them.

Finally, my mother hands the box to my brother and gently picks me up. I lay my head on her shoulder as we start for home, and soon I am fast asleep, dreaming of funny clowns and pink baby chicks.

Irma Y. Andrade

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