Such little feet! Such tiny toes!
Michelle Pitman

When my children were little, I was obsessed with their feet! I loved the way their toes used to wiggle with pleasure as they fed from me. How the soles of their little flat feet would be so soft like some beautiful, smooth fabric, and then, suddenly, the creases and crinkles appearing in their flesh as each little foot curled in response to my touch.

I loved the shape of their toes, the seemingly independent motion of each toe as it wiggled and flexed, moving through space as if in search of something. They reminded me of wee tentacles undulating and waving under a calm sea by moonlight.

Then there were those teeny tiny little nails growing according to their own shape and pattern -- not to any specifications of some pedicurist or "beautician."

These tiny feet -- so perfectly formed, so innocent of dust and mud and foot odours!

I remember distinctly that morning, moments after I gave birth to our daughter. She had been well-overdue and took some delivering, but oh, the joy on seeing those curious eyes considering me for the very first time. As I gazed over her newborn body, still sticky from her tumultuous journey out of the womb, I found her little feet. They were cyanosed; they'd been deprived of oxygen for some time, so they had that slightly bloated and white-bluish look about them.

They also looked as if she'd been bathing for a very long time and her fingers and toes had taken on that swollen, wrinkled raisin look that one gets from being in the water too long. Oh, but how I fell in love with my little girl in those first precious moments! How I relished the divine proportions of her body and how it had survived this most miraculous arrival! How I longed to have such beautiful feet!

Those little toes, even 11 years on, are never still. They're much grubbier now and I'm much less inclined to kiss or touch them at every opportunity. They are growing into Big People feet! Feet that have experience of life, feet that have potential still wrapped into the creases and curves of those size-three soles! Big feet that have bumps and calluses and get splinters and stubbed toes, with nails that won't grow according to any pedicurist's specifications -- no matter how much they are cut or filed into submission! Feet with bruises and cracked heels and icky stuff in the hanging corner of one nail! Feet that can be ugly, so unbelievably ugly!

These poor feet! Once they were soft as fine-spun silk, cute and kissable. But now they've travelled more miles, carried more weight, and suffered more torture than any other part of my body!

Our daughter's feet will be the same one day, I suppose. Worn and weary feet that give her "trouble" in her old age. Toes that won't sit straight, nails that are hardened from time and wear. She will look at her feet and either love them as they are or shudder at their ugliness.

While I peer malevolently at my own aching feet, I shall forever love my children's feet! Despite all the dirt and all the places they've been, I shall treasure the miracle of their birth! I shall celebrate each journey of growth and discovery my children's feet take their owners! But above all, I know I shall never forget those tiny, beautiful and perfectly formed toes, waving and wiggling with contentment and pleasure as I snuggled with my babes in the wee small hours of many a morning!

Known as Mitch to her friends, Michelle has been writing since childhood. She has a passion and love for the English language and used to read the dictionary in Primary School "just for fun," much to the dismay of her classmates. Her first poem, entitled "The Snail," was written at the age of six and is yet to be published. These days, she mainly writes skits and short plays for church groups and has had many of these published online and in print.

A born-and-bred Aussie from Horsham in Victoria, Michelle has been married to Greg for 13 years. They have two children, ages 10 and 8, plus a short, furry child, namely a cat called Billy, aged 4. Greg is a pastry cook by trade and together they own and operate a take-out food business in Horsham.


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