On Importance of Shoes and Mother

January 21, 2020

It was not easy for Robert to stay home while I took a 10 days long trip to France. He asked about me hundred times each day. He kept checking and rechecking on a calendar the date of my return. Often, he displayed anxiety and confusion.  My absence was not easy for my husband either as not only he had to take care of Robert alone but  he had to keep responding to wave upon wave of Robert’s repetitive inquiries.

They missed me.  No doubt about that, They wanted me home.

So I expected them to impatiently wait for me  at our town’s train station.  I called my husband from the airport. I called him from the Silver Line bus and from the commuter train. He knew when I was coming and he was supposed to wait for me.   But he wasn’t.

I called him only to find out that they didn’t leave the house yet. As they were getting ready to leave,  Robert shoe laces broke and he couldn’t tie them.  He couldn’t!  But if he couldn’t tie shoe laces  he couldn’t wear his shoes. Of course, he couldn’t leave the house in untied shoes. Those are Robert’s rules and he doesn’t break them easily. So he tried to fix them over and over and over again. He was not able.  He got frustrated and angry. And stubborn.

Although Robert had a pair of new shoes bought just a few weeks before, he didn’t want to put them on as that meant giving up on his broken shoe laces.

Moreover, Robert really wanted to drive with dad to the station.  He really did. He didn’t want dad to go alone but how he could go when the shoe laces were broken. Besides, Dad couldn’t go either as Robert was too agitated to be left alone. With  loud sounds Robert expressed his confusion and displeasure with this unsolvable dilemma.

Only when he saw his father getting into the car, Robert decided to put shoes on and drive with him. He was still tense when I finally met him. He was clearly contemplating if he made a right decision. Ignoring my presence, he  kept repeating “shoes, shoes, shoes. Ten times, hundred times.

With a tint of irritation in my voice I asked, “Robert what is more important: mother or shoes”.

“Shoes, shoes” he answered without hesitation.

I didn’t hesitate either and sternly replied, “Well, if shoes are more important to you, I am going back to France. Jan, please stop the car.”

Jan pulled to the curb and stopped the car.   I opened the door and put one leg on the sidewalk.  Only then I heard very loud, panicked voice,

“Mother!!!! Mother!!!! Mother!!!.”

For the next few days, whenever Robert began to perseverate  about shoes I asked the same question and got the same answer. “Mother, mother, mother.”



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