Shoes and My Daughter the Engineer

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to work on downsizing.

Actually, our middle child started it.  She is graduating from college in a few months and decided it was time to get rid of the old high school and college stuff and prepare for her life as a full-fledged adult.  Yes, one who is off the family dole.  One who pays her own cell phone bills and whom we will no longer be able to claim as a dependent on our taxes.

We’ll miss that little deduction.  And not just on our taxes either.

So our middle child decided to purge her things, and I took it one step further and decided it was time to empty their rooms and do a thorough cleaning.

Thank heaven for MoveAlls and Tylenol.

My daughter’s shoes.  From left to right are her steel-toe shoes, her metatarsal boots, her black leather dress boots, a pair of trendy high heels, and her winter boots.

The variety of shoes in her closet hit me in a kind of funny and nostalgic way.  When one talks about women and their shoes, you don’t often think of steel-toe shoes and metatarsal boots in the same breath as you do chic, ultra-feminine high heels.

When she was 15 months old, she was able to climb out of her crib, climb onto the piano and basically figure out how to get out of or into just about anything.  We moved her to a toddler bed and tried to keep up with her.

One of her favorite activities was to line up everyone’s shoes in the entry hall.  By size, color, and style.  In perfect alignment.  Every day, she lined up the shoes.  In perfect order every time.

She made my anal tendencies look downright non-existent.

My daughter’s high school senior picture.  She’s cute, petite, and very smart.  She is often underestimated.  When those who underestimate her figure out who they are dealing with it’s too late.

Four years ago, this month, she hadn’t yet decided where she wanted to go to school.  Her then boyfriend’s mother suggested that, since she was so good in math and science, she might want to consider going to engineering school.  She was on course to get a business degree.  She loved business courses in high school and had competed in the National DECA competition.

On a whim, while on the way home from visiting her business school of choice, we stopped at the University of Missouri – Rolla (now known as the Missouri University of Science & Technology) and walked the campus.  A few weekends later, she attended a WISE (Women in Science & Engineering) weekend on the same campus.

The major exercise of the weekend was a competition to design shoes.  Shoes made entirely of paper that a person could walk in without destroying.  The engineering design was important, but they were also judged on creativity.  Our daughter’s team won the contest with their Sham Shoes.  Sham for shamrock in keeping with the school’s allegiance to all things related to St. Patrick’s Day.  Engineered to work perfectly (she was the model) and designed to be marketed well, too.

She was hooked.  Within a few weeks, she was enrolled, registered for classes, and had all of her books ordered.  We, literally, went from not knowing where she was going to go college to completely ready to go in two weeks.

Now, she is getting ready to graduate with an engineering degree.  There is so much more I can say about this kid, but it was the shoes that got to me this weekend.

I remember the pudgy, little 15-month old with the bright orange hair that stuck straight up out of her head organizing our shoes.

I remember her getting hooked into engineering, a field that was nowhere on her radar, by participating in a competition to design shoes.

I look at her closet of shoes today.

It is sometimes amazing to me that she can move effortlessly from wearing mud-caked metatarsal boots into a coal mine and then switch to ultra-feminine high heels often in the same day.

Shoes and my daughter the engineer just bring a smile to my face.

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4 Responses to Shoes and My Daughter the Engineer

  1. Melissa Vasseur (Mary's friend) says:

    Just love looking at your blog. It is fun and funny and always a good read. While looking at the one today about the shoes and seeing the picture of your daughter, I was struck at how much she looked like Susie at that age, although I think I remember that Susie had more freckles. Keep up the blogging.

    • Mama says:

      Thanks for reading and come back often! Our middle child has a lot more freckles than Susie, but they are the small ones like DSH has. Our youngest has the larger freckles more like the ones on my mom’s side of the family. We call them angel kisses.


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