I looked over at my mother’s feet.
Hardened. Calloused. Cracking heels.
My teenage mind thought it was gross.
How could she let her feet get like that? I wondered. Doesn’t she know there are things you can do to keep them nice?
Every now and then my sister and I would give her foot spas, pumice off the dry skin, paint her toenails.
She would gladly indulge us.
And then her feet would return to their usual state.
My mother’s feet have always been busy.
And I don’t mean she travelled very far. But she always seemed to be doing something…
Jumping up to get Dad his medication.
Running outside to get the washing in before the rain hit.
Skipping rope on the front lawn at dawn, because that was the only time she could find to exercise, and the only flat patch of grass on our block.
Running along the beach chasing our “pocket rocket” dog, Max.
To-ing and fro-ing across the worn kitchen tiles, feeding hungry mouths.
Standing up the front of church singing.
I looked down at my own feet the other day.
Dry. Hardened. Cracking around the sides.
Maybe I should do something about that, I thought.
Get some of the dry skin off, soften them up with some cream, paint the nails a nice colour…
But then I remembered that with these feet I can run barefoot across our backyard in 5 seconds flat to get to a screaming child.
And I don’t mind dashing up the driveway in the rain because I can hear the garbage truck coming and I forgot to put the bin out.
And I can climb into the olive tree to rescue a stranded toddler.
I look down at my feet.
My dry, hardened, beautiful, practical feet.
And I see my mother’s feet.
And I am so thankful that they are mine.