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Journeys and Footwear

Running shoes are the most popular footwear in an airport, I’ve discovered, and I think it’s interesting because there have been whole years of my life when I didn’t set foot in an airport, ever, let alone have time to consider the fashion preferences of travelers. I saw the inside of plenty of grocery stores, business supply stores, schools and libraries, but travel was not on the horizon for me at all, and I despaired of ever getting airborne again.

There are seasons to life, I suppose, because in the past seven months I’ve been to London, England, Phoenix, Arizona, southern France (twice), and Newport Beach, California. As I write this I am sitting in Toronto’s Pearson International Airport yet again, awaiting the first of several flights that will take me to Queenstown, New Zealand. There I will start a two-week adventure that includes speaking, touring and soaking up a corner of the world that I have long wanted to visit. Lucky Me!

I myself am wearing my favourite travelling footwear, an incredibly comfortable pair of black Dr. Scholl’s pumps that are well worn and, truth to tell, looking a little shabby, however they will not be replaced until I find another pair that are every bit as perfect for me as these ones have been. They have a nice fat heel and I can run in them if I ever find myself late for a connecting a flight, but they look nice, to me, and I feel confidently worldly when I wear them.

This is the life I was born to live. And so are those other ones, that have been so full of motherhood, daughterhood, business building and book writing. I’m still doing all of the above, by the way, just in a new way. Seasons. I have a sudden flashback to a moment in my life some years ago when my late husband and I were travelling down Highway 401 in Ontario with our blended family of five children, winding our way from Toronto to Montreal. Our youngest was a mere babe-in-arms and the task of monitoring five children under the age of 12 was almost more than I could manage.

We had stopped for yet another bathroom break and my arms were full of baby, purse and diaper bag. I was carefully watching our two young daughters in an over-crowded highway rest station while hubby took the boys to the restroom. My hands were fully occupied, yet a stream of precious breast milk I had diligently expressed before the trip fell mercilessly from a poorly-closed bottle in the diaper bag and down my leg, onto my runners and thence to the floor. I felt exhausted, overwhelmed, and helpless. I needed more hands than God had thought to supply and I remember lifting my eyes to heaven and wailing, rather more loudly than necessary, I’m sure, “I USED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS WOMAN!!!”

It’s not that I have anything against runners, of course. They are very helpful in public parks when two young children run speedily in opposite directions and one must rescue both before disaster strikes. They are the shoes of the modern-day Super Parent. But when I am in an airport, heading off on my own unknown adventure, I’ll opt for the pumps, thank you, while thinking sweet thoughts of the children who’ve left me behind. Maybe we will catch up with each other some day!


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