Consigning Myself to Conversations

I love my child dearly but I really don’t like to spend money on clothing or shoes for her. She’s been growing like a weed her whole 15-month-long life and finally has arrived at the 95th percentile for height. (This shocks nobody, of course, considering her gargantuan parents.)


Recently, the girl was in desperate need of some shoes, and I decided I could no longer continue sending her to the church nursery in socks. So I asked a good friend to come over during the bean’s naptime, and I headed to one of our local consignment stores.

I anticipated–correctly–that it would have been difficult to sort through bin after bin after disorganized bin of shoes with a one-year-old toddling around the store.

I found myself on my knees, my third or fourth bin in front of me on the floor, trying to figure out whether Little Bean’s chubby feet would fit in each pair I liked.  A woman about my age hunkered down beside me to look through shoes. I greeted her in some way, friendly enough, and continued digging.

I’ve mentioned before how strangers talk to me. By “talk,” I don’t just mean “Hi, how are you?” I mean full-on conversations, even when I feel like I am responding as minimally as possible, when I’m not really in a mood to be a conversationalist, when I’m not in the mood for community.

Well, it happened once again at the consignment store, over a bin of shoes. Here’s a snippet.

You have a little girl, too? Yes, I do.
What size are you hunting for? Five or six, I think.
I'm looking for four or five. Okay.
How old is your little girl? Fifteen months.
Mine, too, when's her birthday? May.
May what? May 4.
Sophia's is the sixth. Okay.
What did you do for her birthday? We had a cookout.
That's fun. I had a petting zoo. A what?
A petting zoo. I rented  a petting zoo. [I didn't 
say this, but WHAT? Instead, I said:] That's 
interesting. I didn't know you could do that.
Are you a stay-at-home mom, too? Yes, and a writer. 
What do you write? Whatever people pay me to write. 
Like what? Articles, book reviews, essays, interviews, 
worship services. And I'm a poet.
Oh. I'm always looking for XXX [some brand of shoe 
I'd never heard of.] Once I saw them in the bin 
next to mine, and another woman saw them, too, 
and she got them first. Oh.
This place sometimes mark their shoes way up. Like this 
pair here would only be $3.50 new! Okay.

And finally, finally, she gave up shoe-hunting. Or I got up with my bounty to go check-out. I forget which. Regardless, that’s a day in the life of shopping with Elizabeth.

Now you know.

By the way, I scored big time, ending up with four super cute pairs of varying sizes and they all fit her. We even snagged a pair of Toms, which makes Little Bean the hit of all of the college students we know.

She’s kickin’ it.



9 comments on “Consigning Myself to Conversations

  1. stephenii says:

    So much fun getting to hear a little bit ’bout your life.

    She’s now a Hipster, congrats Little Bean. 🙂

    Glad you found some awesome consignment shoes, at least you didn’t have to pay full price for them. Kids shoes are expensive.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I know. Kids shoes are ridiculously expensive. And they hardly wear them. The Toms were the most expensive ones I got and they were $7, I think. The others were all 3 or 4ish. Hooray!

      She is a hipster, that’s for sure.

  2. kelsie says:

    What cute little feet! Love the shoes.

  3. Dad (Stephen Sands I) says:

    I love your honesty LIz but sometimes I wonder if you TRY to scare people away…..:>) And how does someone who writes about and engages in community not like to talk to people? Yeah, I know you have blogged about that too. I just find it interesting. Oh, by the way, i find that for some reason people with Down’s Syndrome are attracted to me. Gail says it is because I think they are cute and look at them when others turn away…..maybe, or maybe they just know. I was stopped at a light one day and a young DS man walked up to the car and stuck his ID in the window and somehow got the message to me that he had missed his bus and needed a way home…I took him home. SO maybe people are just attracted to that soft loving nature that you would rather hide when you have a goal in mind? Like shopping which I know you hate anyway. Maybe true community happens when you are not ready for it or even want it. Maybe?

    • Elizabeth says:

      I do think you’re right that true community often happens when you’re not ready for it. I don’t think the above is an example of true community though! Or maybe it would have been if I had been more open to it. Who knows.

      Thanks for commenting!

  4. Katie says:

    I was in the exact same shoe situation recently! My not-so-little-one also hovers around the 95th percentile and has gone through about 3-4 shoe sizes over the last year. She now wears a larger size than her cousin (who is TWO years older, may I add) and has grown out of her hand-me-downs. Wah 😦
    PS – the petting zoo is outrageous haha 🙂

    • Elizabeth says:

      I still chuckle about the petting zoo. I mean, come on, people! A one year old does not care about a petting zoo! They’re afraid of vacuum cleaners, for cryin’ out loud.

      • stephenii says:

        Ok. I want to hear the petting zoo story.

        And, like their father and Aunt, my 2 year old has out grown my 4 year old. So we buy non gender specific shoes for them to share.

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