I remember the year when I was finally the same shoe size as my mom. I was likely around 14, and I had waited years it seemed to catch up to her size 8. Firstly, I wanted to be more like her – and the anticipation of having my shoe wardrobe double was also a big incentive. When I finally made size 8, I felt like I had arrived. From then on, my sweet mom would always share her shoes.

It didn’t stop there. 

She actually shared everything she had with me. Always. Would give me the clothes off her back, pulled out from her closet, something from a shopping bag she had just bought for herself. Things from the cupboards, storage, boxes, totes – almost anything you could imagine.

You can have this.

She would say.

Just one of the million ways she would show her love to me. 

Love expressed in this time of life is different. Sometimes it’s the recognition in her face, or the slip of my name when I least expect it. Holding hands walking through the house, or a cuddle together watching a movie.

I treasure all these moments. But, I miss sharing things with my mom. I miss her gifts. Not because I care about things, but because I know it meant she was thinking about me. It was one of the ways we showed love.

Sometimes I think, I wish I could have one more gift.

Because presents remind me of presence. 

A couple weeks ago my dad told me to look in the front closet because there are things mom isn’t using anymore. I don’t like to take any of her belongings, because she is still here and because my heart wants her to need them. As I looked in the closet, there were some boots. Beautiful, lovely black boots that she won’t be wearing this year. Just that day I had said I needed new boots. Mine, as per the story of my footwear life, were falling apart.

Take them, my dad said.

I feel bad, was my answer.

She won’t wear them, he replied.

Ok.

When I got home and put them in my closet, I remembered what my heart had been longing for.

One more gift. 

Presence. 

There it was.

My mama’s boots.

I’ve worn them everyday.

And maybe it sounds silly, but I feel close to her when I put them on. I know today she would have been happy that my feet were warm in all the snow, I’ve never been known for practical winter footwear. She would have liked them with my checkered leggings, and my cute Christmas dress. I feel like her when I wear them, she’s always been so stylish and beautiful and any part of her that I can have makes me feel that way too.

Then, as I normally do, I got really deep and realized those boots represent other things in my life. How I’m taking big giant steps of brave every week into great unknowns, and making decisions and trying navigate middle life and all that comes down the pipes. Every day is made up of a million little steps and most of the time they feel scary and uncertain.

But I keep walking ahead.

I have my boots. 

I have all that my mom has given me.

I don’t have to be afraid of the path ahead because she’s right there walking with me. Each step I take, every snowbank I trudge through – her presence is in my life.

I can walk in the confidence she gave me.

The confidence she always wanted for me.

And so much more.

The little girl who couldn’t wait to catch up and wear her sweet mama’s shoes, well I’m the grown up now and hopefully the steps I take are ones worth following too.

Thank you mama for the boots.

One more gift.

My present.

Your presence.