BECAUSE I HAVE FEET

I tickle-tease Fleur while she sits on my lap, on the back seat of my father-in-law’s Ford Fairlane 1971 – the one with the red leather seats. “Are you a funny bunny?” I ask “Noooooo!” comes the bubble laugh. “Are. you. a. silly-billy?” “Noooooo!” she laughs and I kiss her in her neck. Precious moments right in the middle of an ordinary day. We jump out at Spar for milk and walk across the street, her hand in mine. “Are you sure you’re not a little mouse?” I continue the game. “Yeeeees, Mommy! I am a girl.” “What? A girl?” And how do you suppose you know that?” “Because I have feet,” comes the answer clear as day, full of confidence, obvious. Her long hair, the dress on her petite body, and heart shaped alice-band on her head, is clearly not what defines her, in hér opinion, as a girl. It’s her feet. Currently a toddler-sized 9, deeply rooted, firm on the ground, the things that allow her to climb on a jungle gym, and that will flatten the world in exploration ... that's what makes her a little girl. As always: So much wisdom and so much to learn from my red-headed girl! I stand in line and look at my own feet. Knobbly from years of ballet, surgery scars from removed bunions - at least currently nicely painted toenails, phew! And I think about the roads we’ve travelled, these feet and I. The things we could see and feel. The times I bumped my toes. The places where I stood. Conquered territory. The people who grew on me. The space I take up and fill. This is what makes me a woman - what defines me and colours to my identity. You’re right, my darling. It's our feet that makes us girls. Barefoot in the kitchen ... as a Michelin chef maybe, yes. On a sports field, on a stage, on a corporate ladder. Maybe one day rocking a baby. But most importantly: things to do and places to go - the world, conquered at your feet. To every woman and girl out there: May your feet walk far and find unexpected detours. May you ascend great heights and rest in cool gorges. Wear your red heels and paint your toes, let the grass tickle your feet and kiss someone while standing on your tippy-toes to reach. May your feet get lost in strange cities and, in so doing, discover the world and yourself as remarkable. Where has your feet walked that makes you the woman you are today?

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