It is the eve of Max’s 8th birthday and as always I am both reflective and anticipatory. I am cleaning up in preparation for my entire summer away from home and am in the process of sending items up to the attic. I have accumulated a collection of Max’s braces (AFOs for those in the know.) These braces span his entire life and have taken him from his tiny 2-year-old feet to the gigantic ones we just purchased a few weeks ago. Each pair lasts about 2 years and can cost almost $4,000!
I have been told that there is a Jewish custom of not donating shoes to charity once someone passes away in respect for the fact that no one can ever “walk in their shoes.” For Max, these braces reflect a lifetime of walking in his own shoes, in a way that no one else could and in a way that we still don’t quite understand. He has walked, in these shoes, into the 8-year-old life he now lives, growing bigger everyday and deeper into my heart in ways no words can describe.
Each new pair made represented the hope that the year to come would bring new changes, new abilities and the possibility that someday he would walk away from those braces and run free. I never know which pair it will be that will do the trick, but I know that the bigger they get, the closer we are.
Happy Birthday to my Magic Boy…