I blame the shoes

Jason A. Smith


There are certain times in my life when I am pretty confident in what I’m doing.

When it comes to my writing, for instance, I can usually figure out how to put words together in a way where everything makes sense. I might agonize over the perfect adjective or verb here and there, but I enjoy the creative process.

Of course, there are also times when I just don’t want to put forth the effort that’s necessary to make something work. For example, I’m not a handyman, and I’ve never been all that gung-ho about trying to change that. I don’t trust myself very much in such situations.

However, in some cases, not wanting to try really isn’t an option. Sometimes we’re thrust into situations in which we are woefully unprepared but have to figure out a way to make it work anyway.

Parenthood comes to mind. I’ve always wanted to be a dad, but it was fairly apparent when my daughter was born six years ago that I had no idea what I was doing. Regardless, I had to learn.

And I’m still learning.

On the morning of this writing, my child nearly missed her bus for school. I’m not even sure how it happened. I was only a couple minutes late in waking her up. Over the last few months, I’ve mastered the art of getting her ready in 20 minutes instead of the typical 45.

Sure, she was a bit uncooperative when I was trying to get her dressed this morning, but that’s nothing new. I can recall quite a few times when I’ve managed to get her dressed without her actually having to move.

As I replay the events of the morning in my head, I think I can pinpoint the problem. We spent too much time looking for her shoes. She usually keeps them in a shoebox by the front door, but for whatever reason, they didn’t make it in there this time around.

It took a few minutes to locate the shoes, but we did. But, by the time we got them tied and headed out the door to walk to the bus stop, the bus was already pulling away. My little girl started to cry.

For a few brief seconds, I felt like the most inept father in the world. But, I didn’t have time to beat myself up for missing the bus, so we piled into my truck as fast as we could.

Fortunately, the bus had another stop to make before leaving our neighborhood. We were able to catch up with it, and I sent my child on her way.

I came back to the house and sat down in front of my laptop, knowing I had a column to write.

That’s when I saw it. My Facebook was showing a photo from exactly six years ago, of me holding my little girl a few months after she was born.

I thought about all the things she’s taught me since then – things I had no choice but to learn. God has used her life to change mine, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to be her dad.

In thinking about the events of this little episode, I’ve been able to take away a few key points. For one thing, those blasted shoes are going in the shoebox every night before my daughter goes to bed from now on.

For another, beating myself up over my mistakes doesn’t change anything. All I can do is learn from them and do better next time.

Most importantly, though, I’m reminded that God was with me six years ago when I became a father, and He remains with me today. I don’t have to do everything perfectly, and there are going to be times when I have no idea what I’m doing.

But that’s OK. I don’t have to trust myself. I can trust Him to see me through each moment.

Jason has worked in newspapers since 2005, spending the majority of that time in Henry County. He lives in Covington with his wife and daughter.