What is it about babies’ feet that are so adorable? Is it their tiny toes, the pure baby smell, or the fact that they are completely unblemished? When Livy was born, the nurses created a foot impression ornament for us. They gently placed her foot in plaster, added her name to it, and painted it pink. Since the girls were born just before Christmas, it was a perfect addition to our tree. It is still one of our favorite ornaments and hangs proudly each Christmas, a reminder of how much Livy and my family have been through over the last twelve years. Livy’s pink foot is once again getting ready to make an appearance the weekend after Thanksgiving.
I have played This Little Piggy with Livy hundreds of times. “This little piggy went to the market, this little piggy stayed home…” But she is still yet to laugh when I tickle her. Instead of smiling, she gives me a look as if to say, “Dad, what the heck are you doing? Knock it off!” I bet that is what she would say about many of my jokes if she could tell me. But none the less, I love playing with her toes. She is still my baby in so many ways.
Livy’s feet are as soft today as they were when she was born. There is no rough skin, no scratches, no calluses, and absolutely no bad smell! Livy’s feet are like a new pair of shoes. The soles are pristine, the label on the inside is not worn away, there are no scuffs, and they have that distinct new shoe scent. There is so much potential in those shoes. What outfits will match them, where will they take the feet to which they are attached, and how far will they go. So much potential. Those, are Livy’s feet.
Livy has always relied on us to walk for her, to carry or move her from place to place, and to go as far as we needed to take her. Many parents bare the emotional weight knowing that their children’s feet will always remain pristine. Although these special children have been through more than most go through in a lifetime, they will never have the chance to stub their toes, get a splinter, or get a blister from new sneakers. But those perfect feet can take a family farther than one could imagine. Those toes walk down a different path to a life with purpose.
Livy’s feet may never bear the weight of her body on their own. Accepting that has always been difficult. But she carries our family and so many others with the strength and dignity of her hope and her spirit. We push her in her wheelchair, but she pushes us to be our best. She helps us to realize that our journey is what we make of it. Regardless of how Livy travels during her life, her footprints in this world will leave an everlasting mark and will forever lead “all the way home.”