In my brief tenure as someone’s mother, I’ve uttered many phrases I had previously thought I never would. From emphatic declarations regarding the color and consistency of another person’s fecal matter (almost always the kid’s, I promise) to heartfelt affirmations on the superior cargo capacity of mini-vans; I’ve said some things that would cause my pre-parenthood self to recoil in hipster-horror. But the following words, spoken upon departure from an afternoon at the local swimming pool, unequivocally take the shame cake:
“Let’s put on your Crocs, honey. It’s time to go.”
Sweet tap dancing cripes, who in the hell have I become?!
It seems slightly unreasonable that a shoe, any shoe, could inspire such rancor in a person, but I’ve been known to deliver epic diatribes on the general hideousness of these techni-color foam monstrosities. Children who donned them were doomed, by no fault of their own, to a lifetime of insufferable dorkiness. Adults who willingly chose them had completely given up on ever again being regarded as a sexual being. They were an offense akin to mom-jeans. The only Crocs enthusiasts to escape my ire were nurses and Mario Batali. All those not administering tourniquets or cooking delicious pasta dishes were awarded my stink-faced judgment.
I was doggedly determined to remain an anti-Crocs household at all costs. Until, that is, my mother alerted me of a package en route to our house; the contents of which included one pair of the devil’s footwear in a toddler’s size 6. I attempted to protest, until one phrase managed to melt away all my shoe-elitist resolve, “But when they get dirty, you can just hose them off.” I thought immediately of the closet full of adorable, expensive sneakers being systematically destroyed by the puddle-jumping whims of a two-year-old mess machine. Soil the Crocs to save the Vans? Okay, I was in.
And so the elicit package arrived. I steeled myself and slowly opened the box, ready to face down the demon. As promised, there they were; the murky blue of a freshly bruised shin. And so I applied the off-duty clown shoes to my sweet angel’s heretofore unsullied feet. And much to my chagrin, he was immediately smitten. He merrily stomped about, stopping intermittently to admire his foam-clad tootsies. Could my son be a closet dork? The thought was too much to bear. We had to road test these warlocks before I lost my nerve and buried them in the yard.
Outside I watched as he tromped through mud, crud and the odd piece of petrified dog crap. It felt surprisingly liberating, not cringing every time he approached a potential shoe-annihilating landmine. When playtime ended, I carefully removed the dirt plastered clogs and cranked the garden hose to 11. As promised, all evidence of his the mud-fueled rampage washed down the driveway and I hung my head in shame. Dear God, the dorks were right.
My name is Jeni, and my son wears Crocs. It still feels slightly dirty to admit this, even though he’s been rocking them for the better part of the summer. Add this to the list of broken promises, the “swore I would never”s, those brash declarations you make before you have kids and slowly, sneakily become a bizarre incarnation of your former self. My name is Jeni, and my son wears Crocs. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and order 17 pairs of tiny Chuck Taylors in an attempt to restore order to the universe.