Apparently I will tell you people anything
Parenthood makes you do things — stupid things, unforgivable things — you never imagined you'd do. In the aftermath you're left questioning everything you ever believed about yourself. You look in the mirror, or possibly down at your feet, and whisper in desperation, What have I become?
Yesterday I left the house wearing orange Crocs.
I can explain how this came about. They're the shoes I wear around the house when I need to step out to the garage, or tromp out to empty the compost, or drag a weeping Ben away from his bubble-blowing bucket because it's dinner time and if you don't come now, the three grains of rice you're going to eat will be stone cold and they'll end up on the floor, rejected, but no matter how hungry you get I am not fixing you any of that tasty, tasty air you seem to prefer.
When I buckled Ben into his car seat yesterday, I knew I had them on. As I guided his arms through the straps, I thought, Gotta take off the Crocs. I put his water bottle in his cup holder and reminded myself, Don't forget the Crocs. I put my purse on the floor of the back seat and knew it even then: I'm going to forget the Crocs.
And in the next two minutes of getting the keys, picking up my phone, loading up the Snack Trap, putting on lipstick, and telling Charlie goodbye, I fucking forgot the Crocs.
And it would have been okay if
Wait, I was just going to say it would have been all right to have them on if I'd been going…somewhere…but I honestly can't think of anywhere I'd be happy to be seen with them on. They're giant and rubber and orange, really orange. They look like what a duck would wear if ducks could walk. Oh, now, don't give me the business about ducks. You know what I mean.
But wait. It gets worse. They have buttons in them. You know those molded plastic charms you can ram through the holes on the Crocs? No? What's that you say? You don't know because you don't personally own any giant stupid rubber orange walking duck prosthetics? Well, you can just go fuck yourself, is what.
Sorry. Rudeness is shame turned outward.
Anyway, worse: My Crocs have Muppet buttons, namely Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker.
They were a present. From a friend. Who was mocking me for having Crocs.
I can defend forgetting to swap my footwear, just. It was all because I was distracted by the details of getting ready to leave the house with a kid, pulled in three different directions at once, none of which was labeled with a big bold-lettered sign that said IDIOT CHANGE YOUR SHOES. In short, I blame the children. It is rather convenient that I have some.
That, in fact, is how it came to pass that I had Crocs to begin with. I got them the summer I was pregnant with Ben. My feet were swollen, it was hot, and I — look, I don't have to justify myself to you people. The only other explanation I will lower myself to offer is that I let Charlie choose the color.
He has never really loved me.
So I only have them at all because of the children — one, in utero, making it impossible for me to wear my other shoes, and the other, fully sentient, consulting his pocket Pantone chart to determine which color was more jarring, Mr. Yuk or prison jumpsuit. (He chose the green for himself.)
And I tried this excuse on a stranger. Three times that morning, swear to God, a stranger commented on my shoes — who does that? — and I held out until the third before I blurted out, "I'm only wearing them because of my kid."
And as I led Ben away by the hand, I wondered, a little piqued, why the guy was laughing so hard. And then I remembered, and realized, and looked at Ben's feet to confirm in horror what I already knew: he was wearing them, too.