I am not sure why, but when I was pregnant with our first, I feared going into labor with my feet unpedicured. I fretted that if I brought this child into the world while staring at chipped and dried toes, it would somehow reflect what kind of mother I would become.
I picked out an OPI color that was the perfect shade – not too orange; not too purple. Just a tad pinker than a true red. “Dutch Tulips” was its name. It reminded me of Sheri Bull, who I grew up calling my second mom. She was Dutch and used to work at a tulip farm when she was young. Just a small confirmation that I had chosen the right color. I made sure it was lacquered on perfectly at all times, you know, in case I went into labor at 8, 7, 6 months. (He was on his due date.)
A few weeks before I delivered, I sat on a couch next to my friend, Kristin. I marveled at the new baby in her arms. I wondered what it would be like. She didn’t. It was her fourth. She knew.
Then I looked down. Our feet … were so …different.
Mine: primed, polished, clear-coated and moisturized. Hers, chipped, dried and untended. I was embarrassed – for me. How much time I wasted making sure my toes were ready for a photo shoot.
As I looked at her chipped polish, all I could think was “I want toes like that.”
Toes that quickly drummed the floor as they played chase with children. Toes that were stubbed from pacing with crying babies in the pitch black night. Toes that strained from hauling heavy loads of laundry. (<— That’s a lie. I would never fantasize about laundry.)
Toes that weren’t a priority.
This past Sunday, I put on maternity clothes that were just cute enough for church but still comfy enough to allow me to carry two kids into church myself (Chris was already there – this is why they call us pastors’ wives “weekend widows.”). I buckled both boys into their carseats, packed their bags with diapers for David, and a solitary key for Daniel. He is adamant he needs absolutely nothing in his entire backpack except this key. I know, he’s “creative.” I pulled out of the driveway, out of our neighborhood and up to the stop light. I glanced down at my feet adorning a $5 pair of shiny black flip flops.
There they were: toenails that I hadn’t even considered before I left the house. Chipped and dried, they begged for a different shoe selection. But you know what? I didn’t care.
Better things took my time that morning.