I love cute shoes. My shoe collection is not nearly as robust as I’d like, but I have several cute pairs of heels and sandals. Little girl shoes are even cuter than grown-up woman shoes. But unfortunately, cute shoes are not really easy to walk in, and for someone whose feet are “invisible” to her brain, they’re not acceptable. She needs sturdy and supportive shoes with a strong heel catch and rolls around the ankles, not sandals or ballet flats or baby girl high heels.

I mourn the lack of cute shoes for Gracie more than I probably should. It makes me so sad to see cute ballerina flats that she’ll never wear, or that first pair of heels that every girl wants. I wish her life were easier. I wish she could just live, without having to spend so much time trying to stay alive. I wish our biggest problem with her was her attitude or getting her ready for kindergarten, instead of keeping her from having wounds and infections (or finding a school that will take her, but that’s a whole different story). I wish she had normal vision so she could see the whole range of cute shoes – and, to be honest, I wish she had normal vision so I would know she’s seen my face. I mourn for the life she should have had.

But, as we all know, you can’t just wallow in despair. Life goes on, and we must continue living even if conditions are not ideal. I swallow down the grief and continue past the cute toddler shoes to the sensible ones. Her safety is more important that aesthetics, and besides, she’s plenty cute no matter what she’s wearing.

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