Crocheted Baby Sneakers Set Me Off

Booties and squirrelsI was looking through Facebook the other day when I saw pictures of little crocheted sneakers for babies. Friends showered the post with likes and loves, as if they had never seen such things before. But I had.

The pictures took me back to the 70s when I was a newlywed crocheting baby booties shaped like sneakers. I had all kinds of fun patterns for baby shoes, and also for stuffed animals. I had graduated from college with a degree in journalism two weeks before we got married, but then I couldn’t get a newspaper job. We were in the middle of a recession, and nobody was hiring. My husband was still in school.

I wound up working part-time stocking shelves in the housewares department at JC Penney. That left a lot of spare time. I spent it watching TV, starting with the early afternoon soap operas, continuing into the talk shows, and then into Star Trek (the original one). Every day. It wasn’t much different from my mother’s life. Between lunch and dinner, she did needlework and watched TV, too. In my mind, that’s what moms did, and I was going to be a mom. Of course. Love, marriage, baby carriage.

I made a ton of baby booties, along with little squirrels and bears, rattles, and tiny hats, which I stashed away for the babies I was sure were coming. No one had ever told me otherwise.

My TV-and-crochet afternoons ended when the people who had loaned us their television took it back. We couldn’t buy our own. We were really poor, so poor Chevron took our one credit card away for non-payment and some days we lived on zucchini and Christmas cheese boxes. Eventually I got a newspaper job. It didn’t pay much, but it got me off the couch.

Decades later, I still have some of those crocheted booties and stuffed animals in the closet. They’re just too cute to throw away. For a while, I thought I’d sell them at boutiques, but I didn’t have enough, and since I wasn’t having any babies, I didn’t feel like making any more.

Silly little things like crocheted baby sneakers can bring all the feelings back. How many of you have made or collected things for future babies? Did you have any doubt at the time that you’d be using them? What do you do with them now?

I never envisioned that I be pushing 70, collecting my senior discount at the grocery store as I buy my dog food and dinners for one, nothing for a husband or for kids who might drop in, but that’s where I was yesterday, and those baby sneakers are still in the closet.

I had no idea I wouldn’t live a version of my mother’s life, that the marriage wouldn’t last or that my ex would not want to have children. If I’d known, would I have married him? I hope not. I never thought to ask him, “Hey do you want to have kids?” Or even, “How many kids do you want to have?” Sure, he hustled me into the student health center for birth control pills, but that would end once we got married, wouldn’t it? We’d have lovely brown-eyed, brown-haired babies.

I hope most young women are not as dumb as I was. My advice now to anyone getting serious about a relationship is to ask the questions: Do you want to have kids? How many? How soon? Is there any reason why you might not be able to? You also need to ask about birth control—what is he/she using?—and STDs, maybe not in the same conversation. Ask in a joking way if you need to, but find out. How do you bring it up without risking your relationship? I’m not sure. Choose your moment, but you have to take that chance. If they run away, maybe that will save you a lot of grief.

Most readers here have already gotten into situations where they’re being prevented from having children. Now they need to know whether they should leave or stay. They’re forced to choose between the partner and the children they might, maybe, possibly have with someone else. It’s so hard. If only we had asked sooner.

If only we hadn’t crocheted all those little red squirrels, brown bears, and itty-bitty sneakers.

 

6 thoughts on “Crocheted Baby Sneakers Set Me Off

  1. Oh yes, I saved a lot of things because I wanted to show them to my children. And as a former elementary school teacher, I bought a lot of kids books assuming my children would read them one day. I’ve given away most of the “stuff,” but I still have all of the kids books.

    But the onesies. I still have about 5 onesies that I bought before I knew I was infertile. I haven’t wanted to give them away. I may make them into a quilt one day or I may just keep them forever. Whatever I choose to do will be okay.

    I really love your crocheted critters. ❤

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  2. And sometimes you do all the right things, ask all the right questions at precisely the right time (with every new relationship), holding your breath that the answers line up…and the relationships still don’t work out. Or they lied and you find out in the worst possible way. Or the answers don’t line up and you give up the chance to have children for the chance to be in a relationship (and not be alone), and he still leaves. Then you find yourself never married, no children, with 20 years spent trying to get someone to love you feeling like a massive waste of time. A walking cautionary tale for every woman younger than you – and everyone seems to pick up on that.

    I never dared to gather and collect baby supplies as I thought it might jinx me, or that I didn’t deserve it, or that it might scare off fate and I’d come across as desperate. I wanted it so badly and I feared that indulging myself would guarantee that it wouldn’t happen. Well I didn’t indulge myself, and it still didn’t happen. :/

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    • It’s similar to the hope chest in the past when it was hope you would get married. In some cases, they may have made quilts and such in anticipation. I could imagine the disappointment if you were say, pushing 30 with no hope. It’s a shame that so many things likely never got used after the women spent much time making them.

      I did crochet /knit baby things when DH and I first married and kept saying I was going to give them away whenever someone had a child. But looking back, it seemed like lying to myself when I knew the real reason for making them was hoping for a baby myself, which never happened. I stopped making baby things. Like with or without the hope chest, it’s a toss of the dice either way, though I’d never buy things these days in anticipation.

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      • Thanks for sharing this. I had a hope chest, too. Luckily I did get married. Now it’s more of a memory chest. There’s nothing wrong with planning for our dreams, even if they don’t come true.

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